Probate Glossary

NameDescription
AdministratorA person appointed by the court to administer the estate of a person who died without a will.
Administrator with Will AnnexedA person appointed by the court to administer the estate of a person who died with a will, but this person was not named in the will to act as a personal representative.
BeneficiaryAn individual or organization to which a gift of property is made.
Blocked accountsCash or securities that are placed in a bank, trust company, insured savings & loan or insured brokerage account, subject to withdrawal only upon court order or statute.
Case CalendarYou can access up to 14 days of the court calendar to find your court date.
Case SummaryYou can get a summary of your case. All you need is your case number.
CodicilAn amendment or supplement to an existing will.
ConservateeA person determined by the court to be unable to protect and manage their own personal care or financial affairs, or both. A person who has a the court appointed a conservator.
ConservatorA person or organization appointed by the court to protect and manage the personal care or financial affairs, or both, of a conservatee.
Conservator of the EstateA person who handles the conservatee’s financial matters – like paying bills and collecting a person’s income — if the judge decides the conservatee cannot do it.
Conservator of the PersonSomeone appointed by the court that cares for and protects a person when the judge decides that the person cannot provide their own care.
DefendantCash or securities that are placed in a bank, trust company, insured savings & loan or insured brokerage account, subject to withdrawal only upon court order or statute.
DecedentA person who has died
EstateA person’s total possessions, including money, jewelry, securities, land, etc. These assets are managed by a fiduciary subject to a court order. Types of estates include guardianship estate, conservatorship estate, or decedent’s estate.
ExecutorThe person named in a will to carry out the directions as set forth in the will. This person is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
FiduciaryA person with a legal responsibility safeguard the interests of another person, such as a guardian of the estate of a minor, a guardian, committee or conservator of the estate of an incompetent person, an executor of a will, or an administrator of the estate of a decedent.
Filing Court LocatorYou can find your filing location using a zip code.
GuardianA person appointed by the court to protect and manage the personal care or financial affairs, or both, of a minor.
Guardian Ad LitemA person appointed by a court as guardian of an child or other person to act on his or her behalf in a particular action or proceeding
HeirA person who would naturally inherit property through a will, or from another who died without leaving a will.
Holographic WillA will that is completely handwritten, dated and signed by the person making the will.
IntestateWhen used about a person, intestate means not having made a legally valid will prior to death; when used about property, intestate means not effectively disposed of by a legally valid will.
Irrevocable TrustA trust that cannot be changed at any time.
LettersThe court document that establishes the authority to act as a guardian, conservator, or personal representative (executor or administrator). In decedent’s estates, an executor’s letters are designated ‘letters testamentary,’ and an administrator’s letters are ‘letters of administration.’
Limited ConservatorshipA type of conservatorship for developmentally disabled adults.
Living TrustA revocable trust set up during the lifetime of a person to distribute money or property to another person or organization. Also known as an inter vivios trust.
Local FormsForms created to standardize the preparation of documents in a specific court. Local forms usually can only be used in the court that created the form. They are different from Judicial Council forms that can be used in every Superior Court in California.
LPS ConservatorshipA specific type of conservatorship, under the Lanternman-Petris-Short Act, which allows for involuntary detention and treatment of a person (the conservatee). This conservatorship is a result of mental disorder and the conservatee appears to be a danger to himself/herself or others, or is gravely disabled. The Public Guardian must file this matter.
MinorA person under the age of 18 who is placed in the care of a court appointed guardian.
Personal PropertyAnything owned by a person that can be moved such as money, securities, jewelry, etc.
Personal representativeAn administrator or executor appointed by the court to administer a decedent’s estate.
PetitionA written, formal request, properly filed with the Court, for a specific action or order. The petition is a pre-printed Court form in some cases, or written in proper format on pleading paper in others.
Pro Bono Settlement Program 
ProbateThe legal process of administering a will. Also, the judicially supervised process for marshaling a decedent’s assets, paying proper debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the persons or entities entitled.
Probate CourtThe court that handles matters concerning wills and estates, such as the distribution of property or money to those named in a will. In California, the Probate Court also handles guardianships and conservatorships.
Probate EfilingYou can create and submit the filing of your Probate case online.
Probate NotesYou can find Probate Notes related to your case. All you need is your case number.
PropertyAnything that can be owned such as money, securities, land, buildings, etc.
Real PropertyLand and immovable objects on the land such as buildings.
Revocable TrustA trust in which the person making the trust retains the power to revoke the trust.
Small EstatesA decedent’s estate may avoid probate and have personal property transferred directly to an heir if the decedent’s estate meets the requirements of California Probate Code § 13100.
StipulationAn agreement, usually on a procedural matter, between the attorneys for the two sides in a legal action. Some stipulations are oral, but the courts often require that the stipulation be put in writing, signed and filed with the court.
Successor Fiduciaryhe next person or organization appointed if a vacancy arises in a conservatorship, guardianship, or decedent’s estate because of the fiduciary’s death, removal, or resignation.
TestateIt is the condition of a person who dies leaving a will; opposite of intestate.
TestatorA person who makes a will.
Testamentary TrustA trust created by the terms of a will to manage assets given to the beneficiaries.
TrustAn entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust.
TrusteeA person or organization that has been authorized by a trust to hold and manage property for the benefit of a beneficiary.
TrustorThe person or persons who create a trust.
WardA minor who has a guardian appointed by the court to care for and take responsibility for him or her.
WillA written document that leaves the estate of the person who signed the will to named persons or entities. The document should be made according to law (California Probate Code § 6100) and is filed in a probate court after the person has died.
Interpreter RequestYou can request an interpreter for your Probate case.