Glossary Terms about Probate


The person appointed by and qualified before the Clerk to administer the decedent’s estate when there is no will.


The management and settlement of the estate of a decedent, performed under the supervision of the court, by a person duly qualified and legally appointed, and usually involving: (1) the collection of the decedent’s assets; (2) payment of debts and claims against him/her and expenses; (3) distributing the remainder of the estate among those entitled thereto.


A person or organization who receives property, benefits, or advantages from another whether by Will, deed or law of succession of property.


Guarantees that the individual or legal entities appointed by the court to oversee the property of the estate will execute those appointed duties in good faith and be accountable for any deficits that may occur.

Certificate of Qualification

The Certificate of Qualification, sometimes referred to as “Letters of Administration,” is the paper that the personal representative receives from the Clerk at the time of qualification which states that a person has qualified as executor or administrator and has authority to act on behalf of the estate.

Certified Copy

A copy of a document or record signed and certified as a true copy by the officer to whose custody the original is entrusted.


A supplement or an addition to a will; it may explain, modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, alter, restrain or revoke provisions in an existing will.


The County Commission, or branch thereof, in this state, which has jurisdiction in matters relating to affairs of decedents.


Person or organization owed money by the decedent.


A deceased person.


Issue or offspring of decedent.


The decedent’s property, including real estate, personal property and all other assets owned or controlled by the decedent at the time of his/her death.

Estate Appraisement and Nonprobate Inventory Forms

The law requires that someone administer the estate by filing the Appraisement and Nonprobate Inventory Forms within 90 days of qualification.


The person named in decedent’s will to administer the estate.


A person in a position of trust with respect to another’s property; a general term used to refer to executor, administrator or trustee.

Heirs at Law

Person(s) who are entitled to the property of a decedent under the statutes of intestate succession.

Holographic Will

Will written entirely by the testator with his own hand and not witnessed (attested).


The condition of dying without leaving a valid Will.

Intestate Estate

Any part of a decedent’s estate not effectively disposed of (devised) by a Will, which then passes to the decedent’s heirs under intestate succession.


Detailed list of articles; a list or schedule of property, containing the designation or description of such specific article.

Life Estate

A transfer or holding of assets which is limited to the life of the owner.

Personal Representative

A term used to mean either the executor or the administrator of the estate.


Procedure whereby a will is admitted to record in the clerk’s office. Also refers to the entire estate process.


Procedure whereby a person is appointed by the clerk to serve as executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate.

Self-Proved Will

Will that includes a notarized affidavit of the testator and attesting witnesses.


One who dies leaving a will.

Testate Estate

An estate to be administered pursuant to a will.


A written document that gives instruction on how a person wants his or her property distributed after death.