There are lots of legal terms around wills and estates. Here are some definitions and some answers to common questions about wills and estates. Contact us today if you have questions about wills and estates or need help administering an estate.
What is a personal representative?
A personal representative is sometimes called an executor (male) or an executrix (female). This person is appointed in the will to carry out the directions of the will. If the will does not indicate a personal representative, the Court will appoint one.
A personal representative is also responsible for administering an estate when there is no will.
Who the testator or testatrix?
This is the legal term given to the person to whom the will belongs. Testator is the male term and testatrix is the female term.
What is an heir or beneficiary?
This is a very common term when talking about wills and estates. A beneficiary is a person or organization who receives money or property from an estate. If a the deceased has left a will, it will name the kind of assets that the beneficiaries receive. This can be in the form of property, an insurance policy, or money, to name a few.
What is intestacy?
Intestacy happens when a person passes away without leaving a will. If no will has been left, the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate.
What is a codicil?
A codicil is a document that amends or changes a will. Just like a will, it must be dated, signed and witnessed, and it must refer to the will it is amending.
What does it mean to probate a will?
Probate refers to the process of proving the legal validity of a will by the court. This process is often necessary to allow the personal representative to act on behalf of the deceased as requested in the will.
For more commonly asked question visit the Alberta Courts, Queen’s Bench Frequently Asked Questions webpage.