Probate Terms & Definitions


Probate terms & definitions are vital to understand when being named executor or administrator of an estate. The world of probate has many procedures and rules in the process of selling or purchasing probate property. These procedures in turn have specific applications that must be strictly followed. They are accompanied by many probate terms and definitions and you will come across plenty of the vocabulary when dealing with probate or trust real estate or probate property. Without complete understanding, they can easily cause confusion, dismay, and loss of valuable time.

The basic probate terms and definitions provided below are intended to promote a better understanding of probate and individual roles of those typically involved. It does not reflect the whole, complex landscape of actual probate procedure. To gain a greater understanding of managing, buying, or selling probate real estate, seek experts in the field. The LaRoche Team of probate real estate experts stand ready to help. With years of experience, we are known for solving issues that scare others away. Even if you are facing foreclosure, LaRoche Team has snatched property from the jaws of the bank. Get connected with answers. Find the help of experts that thrive on getting the job done and serving others. Contact LaRoche probate realtors today for full details. Enjoy peace of mind and financial well being.

Helpful Probate Terms & Definitions

  • Beneficiary: A person who inherits when there is a Will
  • Conservator: A person who has the court-appointed fiduciary responsibility for the care of another adult
  • Conservatee: The person whose care is provided for under a conservatorship
  • Conservatorship: A court proceeding wherein a judge appoints a responsible person (Conservator) to care for another person (Conservatee) who cannot care for him/her self or finances
  • Custodian of the Will: The person in possession of the Will when the person who wrote the Will dies
  • Decedent: a person who has died
  • Executor: A person named in a Will and appointed by the Court to carry out the decedent’s wishes. This person is also the seller of the real property
  • Heir: A person who inherits
  • Intestate: a person who has died without having made a will. When there is no Will, the sale of the decedent’s real property often requires court confirmation.
  • Intestate Succession: The order of who inherits the property when the decedent does not have a Will
  • Legatees, or Devisees: People who are named in a Will
  • Personal Representative (Administrator or Executor): The person responsible for overseeing the management and distribution of the estate
  • Probate: The formal court process to appoint a representative and marshal, as well as appraise assets and distribute the decedent’s estate to the proper parties
  • Probate Real Estate Sale: The transfer of legal title (ownership) of real property from the estate of the person who has died to a buyer under the supervision of the Court
  • Probate Referee: Before real property can be sold through probate, it must be appraised. This is done by a Probate Referee. In California, probate referees are appointed by the State Controller and assigned to a particular case by the court clerk. They are paid for this service directly by the estate, usually a percentage of the appraised value
  • Real Property: The term used to refer to real estate (land and buildings) in probate and trust sales
  • Testate: Having made a valid will before one dies
  • Trust: In real estate in the United States, a deed of trust or trust deed is a deed wherein legal title in real property is transferred to a trustee, which holds it as security for a loan (debt) between a borrower and lender. The equitable title remains with the borrower
  • Will: A legal document that states a person’s wishes about what will happen to his/her personal and real property after death