Glossary of Terms


  • Administrator: a person legally vested with the right of administration of an estate
  • Certificate: a document containing a certified statement especially as to the truth of something; specifically
  • Codicil: a legal instrument made to modify an earlier will
  • Decedent: a deceased person - used chiefly in law
  • Estate: the degree, quality, nature, and extent of one's interest in land or other property; possessions, property; especially: a person's real property; the assets and liabilities left by a person at death
  • Executor: the person appointed by a testator to execute a will
  • Inter vivos trust: living trust
  • Intestate: having made no valid will
  • License: a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful
  • Lineal descendants: someone who is directly related to a person who lived in the past; son, daughter, grandchild
  • Living trust: a trust that becomes effective during the lifetime of the settlor -called also inter vivos trust
  • Personal Representative: Person named in a will (Executor/ Executrix) or appointed by the Register (Administrator/Administratrix) to administer an estate.
  • Plenary: complete in every respect: absolute, unqualified
  • Probate: the action or process of proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine
  • Property: something owned or possessed; specifically: a piece of real estate; the exclusive rights to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing: ownership; something to which a person or business has a legal title; one (as a performer) who is under contract and whose work is especially valuable
  • Settlor: one that makes a settlement or creates a trust of property
  • Testate: having left a valid will
  • Testament: an act by which a person determines the disposition of his or her property after death
  • Testator/testatrix: a person who dies leaving a will or testament in force
  • Trust: a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another
  • Will: a written instrument legally executed by which a person makes disposition of his or her estate to take effect after death


The definitions provided for the terms on this page were drawn from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary on April 23, 2012.