Glossary

Administrator/Administratrix
A person appointed by the court to manage and distribute the estate of a person who dies without a Will. (Also known as Personal Representative)

Affidavit of Next of Kin
A document issued by the Surrogate which allows the next of kin to dispose of the decedent'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.

Bequest
A gift of personal property by a Will.

Bequeath
To dispose of personal property through a Will.

Caveat
A formal notice filed with the Surrogate’s Court by someone to prevent the proving of a Will or the granting of administration of an estate.

Codicil
An addition or supplement to an original Will that adds to or deletes only part of a Will.

Decedent
A deceased person.

Devise
A gift of real or personal property made by Will.

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

Executor/Executrix
A person named in a Will to carry out the wishes and intentions of the Will. (Also known as the Personal Representative)

Guardian
A person entrusted by the law with the fiduciary care of a person, as a minor or an adult incapacitated person or of their property.

Heir
A person who inherits property from a deceased person.

Intestate
A person who dies without a Will.

Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship
Two or more persons owning real property where the survivor will inherit the property.

Legatee
Person who receives personal property under a Will.

Levy
To collect by assessment.

Lien
A charge upon property, for the satisfaction of a debt.

Living Will
Helps you plan ahead for important health care decisions by utilizing documents known as directives for health care and durable powers of attorney.

Minor
A person who is under the age of 18.

Notice of Probate
A notice in writing signed by the Executor/trix of the Will to all beneficiaries under the Will and to all the next of kin who would inherit under the intestacy rule that the Will has been probated, the place and date of the probate, the name of the Executor/trix and a statement that a copy will be provided upon request.

Personal Property
Intangible property, such as stocks, bonds, or bank accounts; tangible property such as furniture, or jewelry.

Probate
The process by which a Will is determined to be genuine.

Real Property
Land and buildings.

Renunciation
The act of giving up a right.

Short Certificate
Legal document issued by the Surrogate’s Court to the Executor/trix or Administrator/trix of an estate that is used as proof of his/her authority to transfer or sell assets of the decedent.

Surrogate
The elected county official who oversees probate in the State of New Jersey. Acts as the Clerk of the Probate Court in the settlement of estates, guardianships, and trusts.

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

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

Testator/rix
The person who makes a Will.

Trust
A property held and managed by one person for the benefit of another.

Trustee
A person appointed to hold 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/her estate divided after death.

Witness
Person who observes the signing of a Will and also attests to the signatures.