Defined Terms

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Accountings: Annual or final fiscal reports showing receipts and payments.

Application: a written request for an order/statement of informal probate or appointment.

Beneficiary: A person who has vested interest and/or the owner of an interest and includes any person entitled to enforce a charitable the trust.

Child: any individual entitled to take as a child by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved. This excludes any person who is only a:

  • Step child
  • Foster child
  • Grand child
  • or any remote descendant

Claims: liabilities of the decedent or protected person whether arising in contract, in tort, or otherwise, and liabilities of the estate which arise at or after the death of the decedent or after the appointment of a conservator, including funeral expenses and expenses of administration.

Note: The term does not include estate or inheritance taxes, or demands or disputes regarding title of a decedent or protected person to specific assets alleged to be included in the estate.

Court: the court or branch having jurisdiction.

Conservator: a person who is appointed by a court to manage the estate of a protected person.

Devise: (noun) A testamentary disposition of real or personal property, including both devise and bequest as formerly used.

(verb) To dispose of real or personal property by will.

Devisee: Any person designated in a will to receive a devise. In the case of trust described by will, the trust or trustee is the devisee. The beneficiaries are not devisees.

Disability: Upon petition and after notice and hearing in accordance with the provisions of this part, the court may appoint a conservator or make other protective order for cause.

Distributee: Any person who has received property of a decedent from his personal representative other than as creditor or purchaser.

A testamentary trustee is a distributee only to the extent of distributed assets or increment thereto remaining in his hands. 

Estate: Property of the decedent and/or trust.

Exempt Property: Property of a decedent's estate which is described in § 62-2-401 as:

The surviving spouse of a decedent who was domiciled in this State is entitled to a value not exceeding five thousand dollars in excess of any security interests therein in:

  • household furniture
  • automobiles
  • furnishings
  • appliances
  • personal effects

If there is no surviving spouse, minor or dependent children of the decedent are entitled jointly to the same value.

Expense of Administration: Commissions of personal representatives, attorney fees, appraiser fees, and other reasonably incurred expenses for the estate.

Fiduciary: Personal representative, guardian, conservator or trustee.

Foreign personal representative: A personal representative of another jurisdiction.

Formal proceedings: Those conducted before a judge with notice to interested persons.

Guardian: A person who has qualified as a guardian of an incapacitated person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment, but excludes one who is merely a guardian ad litem or a statutory guardian.

General power of appointment: Any power that would cause income to be taxed to the fiduciary in his individual capacity under Section 678 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Heirs: Persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statute of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.

Incapacitated person: Any person who is impaired by reason of:

  • mental illness
  • mental deficiency
  • physical illness or disability
  • advanced age
  • chronic use of drugs
  • chronic intoxication

or other cause (except minority) to the extent that he lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person or property.

Informal proceedings: Those conducted without notice to interested persons by the court for probate of a will or appointment of a personal representative.

Interested person: includes heirs, devisees, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries, and any others having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward, or protected person which may be affected by the proceeding.

Issue of a person: All lineal descendants whether natural or adoptive of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definitions of child and parent.

Lease: Oil, gas, or other mineral lease.

Letters: Letters of testamentary, guardianship, administration or conservatorship.

Minor: A person who is under eighteen years of age, excluding a person under the age of eighteen who is married or emancipated.

Mortgage: Any conveyance, agreement, or arrangement in which real property is used as security.

Nonresident decedent: A decedent who was domiciled in another jurisdiction at time of death.

Organization: includes corporation, agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal entity.

Parent: Any person entitled to take, or who would be entitled to take if the child died without a will, as a parent by intestate succession from the child whose relationship is in question. This excludes stepparents, foster parents, or grandparents.

Person: An individual, a corporation, an organization, or other legal entity.

Personal representative: includes executor, administrator, successor personal representative, special administrator, and persons who perform substantially the same function under the law governing their status.

Petition: A written request to the court for an order after notice.

Probate: Legal process of wrapping up a person's affairs, paying bills and distributing assets.

Proceeding: includes action at law and suit in equity.

Property: includes both real and personal property or any interest therein and means anything that may be the subject of ownership.

Protected person:  A minor or incapacitated person for whom a conservator has been appointed or other protective order has been made.

Protective proceeding: A proceeding to determine if a person is an incapacitated person, or to secure the administration of the estates of incapacitated persons or minors.

Security: includes any:

  • note
  • stock
  • treasury stock
  • bond
  • debenture
  • evidence of indebtedness
  • certificate of interest
  • participation in an oil, gas, or mining title
  • lease or in payments out of production under such a title or lease
  • collateral trust certificate
  • transferable share
  • voting trust certificate

In general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a security or any certificate of interest or participation, any temporary or interim certificate, receipt or certificate of deposit for, or any warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase, any of the foregoing.

Security interest: Any conveyance, agreement, or arrangement in which personal property is used as security.

Settlement: in reference to a decedent's estate includes the full process of administration, distribution, and closing.

Special administrator: A personal representative.

State: Any state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession subject to the legislative authority of the United States.

Stepchild: A child, natural or adopted, of a spouse who is not the child, natural or adopted, of the other spouse.

Successor personal representative: A personal representative, other than a special administrator, appointed to succeed a previously appointed personal representative.

Successors: Those persons, other than creditors, who are entitled to property of a decedent under his will or by Code.

Testacy: A proceeding to establish a will or determine intestacy.

Testator: a person who has made a legally valid will before death.

Trust: includes any express trust, private or charitable. It also includes a trust created or determined by judgment or decree under which the trust is to be administered in the manner of an express trust.

Trustee: includes an original, additional, or successor trustee, whether or not appointed or confirmed by court.

Ward: A person for whom a guardian has been appointed.

Will: includes codicil and any testamentary instrument which merely appoints an executor or revokes or revises another will.