Terminology used in probate matters can be confusing. See some frequently used legal terms below to find out what it all means.
|Administrator||A person appointed by the Court, by an official document called letters of administration, to administer a deceased estate that has no executor. This may be because there is no will, the will did not appoint an executor, or a named executor is unwilling or unable to act.|
|Chattels||Personal property, as distinct from real estate. Money, securities and property used for business purposes are excluded from the definition of chattels.|
|Executor||A person appointed by the deceased person’s will to administer the estate. A will may appoint more than one executor.|
|Grant of Letters of administration||A document issued by the Court where the deceased has not left a will.|
|Grant of probate||A document issued by the Court when there is a will. A grant of probate certifies that the will is the last and valid will of the deceased person and confirms the authority of the executor named in the will to administer the estate.|
|Grant of representation||A grant, by the Supreme Court, of probate or of letters of administration.|
|Informal administration||Administration of estate assets without a grant of representation .|
|Intestacy||Intestacy occurs when a person dies without having made a valid will, or where their will fails to effectively dispose of all of their property. Intestacy can be partial, where only some of the deceased person’s property is effectively disposed of by will, or total, where none of the deceased person’s property is effectively disposed of by will.|
|Issue||A person’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other direct descendants down this ancestry line.|
|Joint tenancy||Common ownership of property when all co-owners (or co-tenants) together own the whole piece of property, each having an undivided share. See also survivorship and tenancy in common.|
|Next of kin||A person’s closest blood relatives. A deceased person’s estate is distributed to their surviving partner(s) and next of kin on intestacy .|
|Personal representative||The common term that refers to either an executor appointed by a will, or an administrator appointed by the Supreme Court, to administer the deceased person’s estate.|
|Probate||The process by which the Court approves that the will is valid and that the executor(s) can act on the will.|
|Real property||Land and interests in land, otherwise known as real estate.|
|Residuary estate||The remainder of the estate after debts and liabilities are paid, and specific gifts and legacies are distributed.|
|Statutory will||A will authorised by the Court for a person who is alive but lacks the testamentary capacity required to make a valid will for themselves.|
|Survivorship||A right in relation to property held by two or more people as joint tenants. Where a co-owner (or co-tenant) dies, their share in the property passes to the surviving co-owner(s). It cannot be given by will. See also joint tenancy.|
|Tenancy in common||A type of co-ownership where multiple parties own distinct interests in the same piece of property. The share owned by a tenant in common forms part of their estate. See also joint tenancy.|
|Testamentary capacity||The mental capacity required to make a valid will. To have testamentary capacity, a person must be of sound mind, memory and understanding, and must understand the nature and effect of making a will.|
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