Glossary

Administrator, Administratrix: Individual appointed by the courts to take charge of the estate of a decedent who dies without a will.

Affidavit of Next of Kin: A document issued by the Surrogate which allows the next of kin to dispose of the deceased's property. This affidavit is issued in cases where there is no will, no spouse, and the total value of the property does not exceed $10,000.

Affidavit of Surviving Spouse: A document issued by the Surrogate which allows the husband or wife of the deceased to dispose of the property. This affidavit is issued in cases where there is no will and the value of the estate in the deceased's name does not exceed $20,000.

Beneficiary: A person designated to receive money, property, or benefits in a will.

Bequest: A gift of personal property by a will.

Bequeath: To dispose of personal property through a will.

Caveat: A formal notice given by someone to prevent the proving of a will or the grant of administration of an estate.

Codicil: An addition or supplement to an original will that adds to or deletes only part of the will.

Contingent Beneficiary: Receiver of property or benefits if fist-named beneficiary dies before
receiving all benefits.

Contract: Legally enforceable agreement.

Decedent: A deceased person.

Devise: A gift of real estate through a will.

Estate: Real and personal property and possessions; everything a person owns.

Executor/Executrix: (aka: Personal Representative) A person named in a will to carry out the wishes and intentions of the will, also known as a personal representative.

Guardian: A person entrusted by the law with the fiduciary care of a person, as a minor or mental incompetent, or of their property.

Heir: A person who inherits property from a deceased person.

Intestate: When a person dies without a will.

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship: Two or more persons owning real estate where the survivor will inherit the property.

Legatee: A person who receives a gift under a will.

Personal property: Intangible property, such a stocks, bonds or bank accounts, and tangible property such as jewelry, furniture, or an automobile.

Probate: Official proof of authenticity or validity of a will.

Real property: Land and/or buildings.

Surrogate: An elected county official who oversees probate in the State of New Jersey.

Tenants in Common: Two or more persons owning individual interests in a single piece of property.

Tenants by the Entirety: Real property owned as husband and wife with rights of survivorship.

Testator/Testatrix: The person who makes a will.

Trust: Property owned or managed by a person for another.

Trustee: Person holding property in trust for another.

Waiver: A legal instrument relinquishing a right or lien.

Will: A legal declaration of the manner in which a person wishes his or her estate to be divided
after his death.

Witness: Person who observes the signing of a document and attests to the signatures.

 

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