Trusts, Wills, Estates and Probate Law Dictionary (Duhaime. org)

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A detailed statement of the debits and credits between parties arising out of a contract or a fiduciary relation.

The written, detailed or summary, record of a person's management or administration of an estate or of a particular matter.

Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
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Latin: any right of action dies with the person.

Ad Colligendum Bona
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Latin: for the collection of the goods of the deceased.

When property identified in a will cannot be given to the beneficiary because it no longer belonged to the deceased at the time of death.

Latin: for the suit.

Administrator
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A person who manages (administers) the assets of another, such as an estate administrator or the administrator of an insurance plan.

Adult Guardianship
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The body of law as related to the investigation into the ability of an adult to manage his or her person or affairs, and the resultant guardianship.

Latin: members of a group having a common male ancestor.

Something which is mobile or not cast in stone; which can be changed.

Armchair Rule
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A rule of interpretation that a judge, called upon to interpret an otherwise unclear legal document, shall take into account the circumstances in which the document was created.

Arm's Length
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A transaction or relationship where there is an absence of control the one over the other.

Authentic Act
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Civil law: a contract or other legal document which has been properly prepared or authenticated by a court officer, such as a notary, and thereafter given enhanced evidentiary status of its authenticity.

Latin: a mother's brother.

An illegitimate child, born in a relationship between two persons that are not married (ie. not in wedlock) or who are not married at the time of the child’s birth.

The person for whom a trust has been created.

Benefit of Inventory
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A right of legal or testamentary beneficiaries to an estate to demand of the administrator an inventory of the estate.

A trust in which a settlor reserves the right to terminate the trust but to assert no other power over the trust, which is administered without any other measure of control over the trust's administration.

A written guarantee in regards to the fulfillment of a legal obligation.

Breach Of Trust
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Any act or omission on the part of the trustee which is inconsistent with the terms of the trust agreement or the law of trusts.

Latin: let him beware. A formal warning.

Cessate Grant
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A grant of probate that is made after a limited grant has served its purpose.

Cestui Que Trust or Cestui Que Use
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Latin: the beneficiary of a trust.

A person who has never voluntarily had sexual intercourse outside of marriage such as unmarried virgins.

An order of a court to either do a certain thing or to appear before it to answer charges.

A body of law derived and evolved directly from Roman Law, the primary feature of which is that laws are struck in writing; codified, and not determined, as in the common law, by the opinions of judges based on historic customs.

A maxim of the law to the effect that any person, individual or corporate, that wishes to ask or petition a court for judicial action, must be in a position free of fraud or other unfair conduct.

An amendment to an existing will.

Relations through the mother.

Collateral Descendant
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A descendant that is not direct, such as a niece or a cousin.

A term of parliamentary law which refers to a body of one or more persons appointed by a larger assembly or society, to consider, investigate and/or take action on certain specific matters.

Commorientes
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Two or more persons dying at about the same time, usually in the same event, but in circumstances in which it is impossible to determine the order of death.

An individual's ability to understand the nature and object of legal proceedings being presented, and to consult with counsel.

Conflict of Interest
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A personal interest that conflicts with a public or fidiciary interest.

Consanguinity
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Common blood, descendants of a same common ancestor.

Constructive Trust
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A trust which a court declares or imposes onto participants in very specific circumstances such as those giving rise to an action for unjust enrichment, and notwithstanding the lack of any willing settlor to declare the trust.

The reduction of the body of a deceased human to its essential elements by incineration.

Widower's right to an interest in his deceased wife's real property.

As near as may be.

Death Duties
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Tax payments due to the state, incurred and payable as a result of the death of the tax-payer.

De Bonis Non
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Latin: assets not yet administered.

An individual who has died.

A firm yet irrational belief and which may affect an individual's capacity to contract.

The transfer or conveyance of property by will, usually in reference to real property.

Discretionary Trust
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A trust in which the settlor has given the trustee full discretion to decide which (and when) members of a defined group of beneficiaries is to receive either the income or the capital of the trust.

Donatio Mortis Causa
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A death-bed gift, made by a dying person, with the intent that the person receiving the gift shall keep the thing if death ensues.

The recipient of a trust; either the trustee or the beneficiary.

The person who donates property to the benefit of another, usually through the legal mechanism of a trust.

Droit d'aubaine
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French: an ancient right to keep the property of any deceased foreign subject.

Latin: for so long as she remains chaste.

Latin: for so long as she remains unmarried.

Dum Sola et Casta Vixerit
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Latin: for so long as she remains single (unmarried) and chaste.

Latin: for so long as she remains a widow.

Where a person is prevented from acting (or not acting) according to their free will, by threats or force of another, it is said to be 'under duress'.

Ejusdem or Eiusdem Generis
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Of the same kind or nature.

The devotion of property to a specific and particular trust.

Enduring or Continuing Power of Attorney
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A power of attorney that continues even if and after a donor becomes incapacitated.

En Ventre Sa Mere
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French: A fetus recognized as a child then alive for the purposes of wills and estates.

Equitable Fraud
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Conduct which, having regard to some special relationship between the two parties concerned, is an unconscionable thing for the one to do towards the other.

A branch of English law which developed hundreds of years ago when litigants would go to the King and complain of harsh or inflexible rules of common law which prevented "justice" from prevailing.

A person's property; often used to refer to the net worth of a deceased individual.

That part of the law which regulates wills, trusts, probate and other subjects related to the management of another's property.

A person specifically appointed by a testator to administer the will ensuring that final wishes are respected (i.e. that the will is properly "executed").

Executor De Son Tort
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A person who meddles with the estate of a deceased person.

Executor's Year
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The year from date of death generally granted to the executor to collect and disburse the testator's assets.

Express Trust
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A trust which is clearly created by the settlor, usually in the form of a document (eg. a will), although they can be oral.

Falsa Demonstratio Non Nacet
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A wrong description of an item in a legal document (such as a will) will not necessarily void the gift if it can be determined from other facts.

A legal duty of loyalty and faithfulness towards another.

A trust in which a beneficiary has an entitlement to a fixed income.

Deceitful or deceptive conduct designed to manipulate another person to give something of value.

Formal observances held for a deceased person, usually before burial or cremation.

A transfer of property with nothing given in return.

Global Deterioration Scale
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A psychiatric tool charting stages of dementia.

Guardian Ad Litem
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A guardian appointed to direct litigation on behalf and in the interests of a person otherwise incapable of managing their affairs.

Guardian of the Estate
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A person who is appointed to manage the property and financial affairs of an incapable individual.

Guardian of the Person
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A person appointed to manage the health and well-being of another.

Half-Secret Trust
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A secret trust in which the donor announces the trust but not the objects or the beneficiaries.

A beneficiary of a will or an intestacy.

Latin: the estate of a deceased person.

Hereditas Damnosa
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Latin: an inheritance that is more of a burden than a benefit.

Hereditas Jacens
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Latin: an unclaimed estate.

Heritable Obligation
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A legal obligation or right which is not extinguished by the death of the person who held those rights, or was liable for the obligation, but are transferred to the estate.

Holograph Will
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A will written entirely in the testator’s handwriting and not witnessed.

The mixing of property for the purposing of effecting a proportionate division.

Human Remains
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The body of a deceased person, in whole or in parts, regardless of its stage of decomposition.

Incapacitated
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An individual who lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care.

Incompetency
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An individual who has a significant risk of personal harm based upon an inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing, or physical safety.

Interlineation
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An addition of something to a document after it has been signed.

International Will
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A will which which is valid if meeting the requirements of an international wills statute and notwithstanding deficiencies in form as regards to domestic wills.

Latin: from one living person to another living person.

To take effect, to result; to come into operation.

Inurement Clause
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A clause in a clegal document, such as a contract or will, that purports to extend the benefits of the document beyond the signatories.

Juristic Reason
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An explanation based upon law for the enrichment of one at the detriment of another.

Jus detractus
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Latin: the right to deduct; an ancient right to a king upon the property of a foreigner who died within the king's territory, to a portion of the decedent's estate.

A blood relative.

The person to whom personal property is gifted pursuant to a will.

A right to use and to enjoy land and/or structures on land only for the life of the life tenant.

The beneficiary of a life estate.

Lineal Descendant
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A person who is a direct descendant such as a child to his or her natural parent.

The converting of the the assets of a person into cash.

Living Trust
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A trust from persons to take effect during their living years, to benefit others.

A will that has been lost and which may, under certain circumstances, be reconstructed for probate.

The law as it relates to the assessment and committal of persons incapable of managing themselves or their affairs.

An individual who, though once of sound mind, can no longer manage his person or his affairs.

Mobilia Sequuntur Personam, Immobilia Situa
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Latin: movables follow the person, immovables their locality.

Mortis Omnia Solvit
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Latin: Death puts an end to everything.

A sealed and secret will requiring strict formalities and available only in limited civil law jurisdictions.

A legal officer with specific judicial authority to attest to legal documents usually with an official seal.

Occupational Therapy
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The employment and function assessment and treatment of post-injury, illness or disability.

A person who has lost one or both of his or her natural parents.

Pendente Lite
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Latin: during litigation.

Latin: by the head. The proposed distribution of an estate of property to surviving specified beneficiaries only and not, in the event of pre-death of the beneficiary, to the heirs of the pre-deceased beneficiary.

Permissive Waste
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The failure of a possessor of a thing to exercise the care of a reasonable person to preserve and protect the estate for future interests.

Personal Representative
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The person who administers the estate of a deceased person as executor or Court-appointed administrator.

Latin: an entitlement to participate in the distribution of property, such as an estate, that flows down to the named beneficiary's next heir if he or she is otherwise unable to take his or her share.

Latin: charitable purposes.

Plene Administravit
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Latin for administration (is) complete.

Power of Attorney
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A document which gives a person the right to make binding decisions for another, as an agent.

Precatory Words
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Words that express a wish or a desire rather than a clear command.

The formal certificate given by a court that certifies that a will has been proven, validated and registered and which, from that point on, gives the executor the legal authority to execute the will.

Proof in Common Form
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A summary approval of an uncontested will by the court, subject to subsequent contest.

Proof in Solemn Form
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The pronouncement by a court that a will is formally approved and not subject to later contest barring fraud or the discovery of a later will.

Nearness in place; close-by.

Public Policy
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Certain acts or contracts are said to be against public policy if they tend to promote breach of the law, of the policy behind a law or tend to harm the state or its citizens.

Putative Father
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A presumed but not DNA-confirmed father of a child.

Quistclose Trust
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A trust which arises to the benefit of the donor when property is advanced for a specific purpose and that purpose fails.

Resulting Trust
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A trust that is presumed by the court from certain situations.

A future interest left in a transferor or his (or her) heirs. A reservation in a real property conveyance that the property reverts back to the original owner upon the occurrence of a certain event.

Revocable Trust
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A trust which can be revoked at the discretion of the settlor.

Rule Against Perpetuities
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A common law rule that prevents suspending the transfer of property for more than 21 years or a lifetime plus 21 years.

Rule in Shelley's Case
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A mostly abolished rule in estate law to the effect that if a life estate was created but the remainderman was the heir of that person, the life estate collapsed and the entire estate vested in that person.

Scintilla Juris
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Latin: a spark of legal right.

Secret Trust
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A trust where, to a stated beneficiary, the donor secretly communicates that he/she holds title in trust for another.

An agreement, or the document which articulates the agreement, which sets or resolves rights.

The person who actually creates a trust by donating property to be managed and administered by a trustee but from which all profits would go to a beneficiary.

Spendthrift Trust
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US law: a trust which in design prevents a beneficiary from depleting the trust funds, or from his creditors demanding payment therefrom.

Springing Power of Attorney
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A power of attorney which becomes legally effective on the occurrence of an event (such as incapacity).

Sprinkling Trust
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Discretion given to a trustee to distribute income from a trust fund disproportionately between beneficiaries.

Statutory Trust
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A trust created by the effect of a statute.

A person who takes over the rights of another.

Suspicious Circumstances
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Circumstances in the preparation or signing of a document that give rise to suspicion as to mental capacity of, or fraud or duress upon the signatory.

A document to take effect upon the death of the author and in which his or her chattels are transferred to a new owner.

Testamentary Capacity
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The legal ability to sign a will.

Testamentary Trust
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A trust created by a will and which takes effect upon the death of the testator.

The signatory of a valid will.

Totten Trust
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Money placed in a bank account with the instruction that upon the settler's death, whatever is in that bank account will pass to a named beneficiary.

To deny an allegation or the validity of an office or of some other official act.

A legal obligation with respect to property given by a person (donor) to another (trustee) to the advantage of a beneficiary

A person who holds property rights for the benefit of another.

A trust which in the distribution of benefits from time to time to the beneficiary, pools capital and income, and does not otherwise distinguish between the capital of the trust and the income of the trust for the purposes of establishing interim payments to a beneficiary.

Unjust Enrichment
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Benefiting from the action or property of another without legal justification.

Unnatural Will
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A will which differs from what might of been otherwise expected of a testator such as a large gift to a stranger, or the exclusion of his children from his estate.

Latin: trust.

Related to the uterus or, in estate law, siblings issue of a common mother.

Latin: to wit or that is to say.

Latin: to wit, that is to say.

Voluntary Waste
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The possessor's direct acts or activity of harming property which he or she holds for another, as in a trustee for a trust beneficiary.

Muslim law: property dedicated to charitable purposes.

The abuse, destruction or permanent change to property by one who is merely in possession of it as in the case of a tenant or a life tenant.

Weapon of Mass Destruction
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Device designed to kill humans through the use of atomic or nuclear energy or the release of chemicals, poisons, biological agents or radioactivity.

A written statement, usually signed, made by an individual, which directs the distribution of their property when they die.

Words of Limitation
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Words in a conveyance or in a will which set the duration of an estate.

Words of Purchase
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Also known as words of substitution; words which describe what should happen to a gift if the person first named is no longer alive when it takes effect.


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