Probate Terminology You Should Know

WillWhen you have experienced the death of a loved one, all the probate terminology can be confusing and overwhelming. The term “probate” can mean a few different things depending on the jurisdiction. A court can probate a will, or it can be described as the method in which the court distributes an estate after a person has passed away. Here is probate terminology you need to be familiar with before going through the process.

Personal Representative

When you create a will, you assign a personal representative to be in charge of the distribution of your estate. However, if you die without a will, the court will determine who will be the personal representative for your estate. A family member can request that the court appoint him or her, but if you have a preference it is best to create a valid will before you pass away.

Letters of Administration

A letter of administration is the evidence a court gives your personal representative to prove that they can act on behalf of your estate. This certified document allows them to manage your accounts and distribute the assets of your estate.


Abatement is when you do not have enough money in your estate to cover your existing debt so the gifts to beneficiaries are reduced. A will gives instruction with regard to the order in which property or gifts will abate. However, when you die without any sort of testamentary document, the court will reduce the gifts in a particular order. First they will reduce residuary beneficiaries, general gifts, then specific gifts.

If you have lost a loved one and are currently going through probate, you need to speak to an experienced probate attorney. They can assist you in understanding complex probate terminology. Contact Lucé Law today for assistance with probate. Call 972-632-1300 to schedule your initial consultation.