Probate and Real Estate Sales in Sacramento
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Probate Real Estate Term Quick Reference
There are some terms characteristic of a probate real estate transaction. Here is a quick reference list for your convenience to associate terms you may be unfamiliar with.
Administrator: An individual appointed by the court to manage one's Estate when he or she dies without leaving a Will. Administrators are responsible for collecting property, paying debts and taxes and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
Affidavit: A written statement made under oath.
Beneficiary: A person who benefits from something (a Will or Trust).
Bequest: To give or leave personal property or assets by Will to an individual or charity. A bequest may be for a specific amount or percentage of the Estate.
Community Property: Property acquired by a couple during their marriage. Refers to the system in some states for dividing the couple's property in a divorce or upon the death of one spouse. In the system, everything a husband and wife acquire once they are married is owned equally by both of them, regardless of who provided the money to purchase the asset or whose name the asset is held in.
Contract: An agreement between two or more parties in which an offer is made and accepted, and each party benefits. The agreement can be formal, written, oral or just plain understood. Some contracts are required to be in writing in order to be enforced.
Custodian of the Will: The person holding the Will at the time the person who wrote the Will dies.
Debtor: Person who owes money.
Decedent: The person who has died.
Deed: A written legal document that describes a piece of property and outlines its boundaries. The seller of a property transfers ownership delivering the Deed to the buyer in exchange for an agreed upon sum of money.
Durable Power Of Attorney: A written legal document that allows an individual to designate another person to act on his or her behalf, even in the event that the individual becomes disabled or incompetent.
Escrow: Money or documents, such as a deed or title, held by a third party until the conditions of an agreement are met.
Estate: All the property person owns.
Executor: The person is named in a Will to oversee the estate. The executor is in charge of maintenance and possible sale of the probate home and property, payment to debts and taxes, and the distribution of property and assets according to the Will.
Fiduciary: A person or institution legally responsible for the management, investment and distributions of property, assets and funds.
Heir: Persons who are entitled by law to inherit the property of the deceased if there is no Will specifying how it's divided.
Intestate: The term used when someone dies without a Will.
Intestate Succession: The order of who inherits the property when someone dies without a Will.
Irrevocable Living Trust: A Trust created during the makers lifetime that does not allow the maker to change it.
Legatees, or Devisees: Also known as a beneficiary. Person named in a Will to receive property.
Lien: A claim against someone's property. A lien is instituted in order to secure payment from the property owner in the event that the property is sold. A mortgage and deed of trust are common liens.
Personal Representative: (also known as the Administrator or Executor) The person in charge of overseeing the distribution of the estate. Additionally, the Personal Representative manages the legal affairs of the Estate and is often granted Power of Attorney for the deceased.
Power Of Attorney: The authority to act legally for another person.
Probate: The legal process which decides how, where and to whom the decedent's property is distributed.
Probate Estate: The term 'Estate' refers to a person's property or assets. After a person has died, their Estate will be categorized as either probate or non-probate. Non-probate property passed directly to the beneficiaries. Assets which are subject to the probate process are called the “Probate Estate.”
Revocable Living Trust: A Trust created during the maker's lifetime that can be changed. Allows the creator to pass assets on to chosen beneficiaries without going through Probate. The maker (grantor) reserves the right in the Trust document to amend or revoke the Trust at anytime during his or the lifetime. This enables the grantor to revise the Trust (or even terminate the Trust) to take into account any change of circumstances such as marriage, divorce, death, disability or change of mind.
Surety Bond: A surety bond is a promise to pay one party (the obligee) a certain amount if a second party (the principal) fail to meet some obligation, such as fulfilling the terms of a contract. The surety bond protects the obligee against losses resulting from the principal's failure to meet the obligation.
Testamentary Trust: A Trust created by the provisions in a Will. Typically comes into existence after the writer of the Will dies.
Testate: When someone dies with a Will.
Testator: The person who makes a Will.
Trust: Property given to a Trustee to manage for the benefit of a third person. Generally the beneficiary gets interest and dividends on the Trust asset for a set number of years.
Trustee: Person or institution that oversees and manages a Trust.
Will: An instrument executed by a person, which disposed of a persons property on or after his death.
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