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Glossary of Probate Terms

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 his/her finances.

Custodian of the Will: The person in possession of the will when the person who wrote the will dies.

Decedent: The person who died.

Executor: A person named in a will and appointed by the Court to carry out the decedent’s wishes. This person is usually named as the seller of the real property.

Heir: A person who inherits. 

Intestate: When someone dies without leaving 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 distribution of the estate.

Probate: The process of deciding where, how and to whom to distribute the decedent’s estate, such as the real property.

Probate real estate sale: The transfer of legal title (ownership) of real property from the estate of the person who has died to his or her beneficiaries or 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: When someone dies leaving a will.

Trust: When a person (trustee) holds property at another person’s (Settlor’s) requests for the benefit of someone else (Beneficiary).

Will: A legal document that lists a person’s wishes about what will happen to his/her personal and real property after death.

What is your role as an Executor?

Winding down the earthly affairs of your loved one can be a daunting experience. We can help.

If you have been assigned the Court to settle the estate, it can be a stressful experience to carry out the wishes of your loved one. You are tasked with protecting the assets of the estate, paying creditors along with other estate-related expenses, and distributing the remaining proceeds to the heirs. I can help you throughout this trying experience.

Probate can be a complicated matter, but you can rely on my guidance to make sense of it all and help you settle your loved one’s estate in a dignified manner. Please call me at 310-379-8800 or fill out the form below for compassionate and confidential consultations.

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