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Probate Glossary: Common Probate Terms Defined


As overwhelming and complicated as the California probate process can seem (and, in some cases, be), understanding the commonly used terms associated with this process can be helpful, especially for those who have never gone through it before.

Here’s a list of the more important probate terms to know, along with straightforward definitions for each of them. When, however, you need experienced help with and superior representation in California probate, don’t hesitate to contact the Santa Clarita and San Fernando probate lawyers at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman.

A Helpful Probate Glossary

  • Administrator – The person named in the will and/or appointed by the Court to oversee the probate process and the distribution of the will’s assets.
  • Beneficiary – A person named in the will to inherit a certain asset.
  • Decedent – The person who has passed away and whose estate will be the focus of the probate process.
  • Estate – The property a decedent has left behind. This will include all personal and real property owned by the decedent upon his death.
  • Intestate – The situation in which a decedent does not leave behind a will. This can include situations in which a will is deemed invalid by the court (because, for instance, the decedent was “not of sound mind” when the will was drafted/executed).
  • Probate – The legal process of validating a will and resolving the matters of a decedent’s estate. While the probate process will include paying all of an estate’s creditors and taxes, it will also involve inventorying, appraising, and – ultimately – distributing the assets of the estate.
  • Testate – The situation in which a decedent does leave a valid will behind.
  • Trust – An estate planning relationship in which the assets of one person (the trust maker) are held by another (the trustee) on behalf of a third person or party (the beneficiary).

San Fernando Probate Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman

Are you preparing to probate an estate? Or do you need help resolving any estate planning issues? If so, the trusted San Fernando probate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman is here for you. Since 1980, our San Fernando Valley probate attorney has been dedicated to providing his clients with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important legal matters.

When people make the smart choice to move forward with San Fernando Attorney Darrell C. Harriman, they can be assured that they will:

  • Receive clear answers and information about their case.
  • Have an experienced, skilled lawyer listening and responding to their legal concerns.
  • Have the best possible representation throughout the probate process.

Contact Us Today

Let’s talk about your legal needs today. You can contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and the greater Los Angeles area.

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