If you happened to be named an executor of the will or a personal representative of a deceased person, you would have to go through a probate process soon. For that reason, it is essential to learn the key vocabulary so that you will not get confused or overwhelmed by terminology later in the process.

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The Probate Process

We’ve consulted the experts from https://probateadvance.com/ – a company specializing in the inheritance process – and they explained some essential terms for us. In this article, you will find a list of 10 essential words you should get familiar with, including executor, estate, petition, real property and personal property, heirs, beneficiaries, decedent, and some more. Read on and educate yourself on the subject.


A decedent is the person who has passed away and whose estate has gone through probate proceedings before being distributed among heirs. The term “decedent” is also used by some law firms instead of saying “person who has died” or “deceased person” in order to avoid using words like “death” or “died” when referring to legal matters.


An executor is a person named in the will to carry out the wishes of the deceased. They are also responsible for distributing the assets to beneficiaries named by the decedent. Executors must follow the instructions in the will and do as much as possible to avoid delays and court procedures.

However, situations may arise where beneficiaries or heirs feel aggrieved by the actions of an executor. In such cases, litigation against an executor may occur, potentially leading to a legal battle that can strain familial relationships and prolong the distribution of assets.


If you are an executor, you will have to prepare and file a petition in order to start probate proceedings. This petition indicates that you are willing to act as an executor and lists the information about the decedent (such as date of death, location of residence, property owned and its value, etc.) as well as information about his or her estate (including the names and addresses of all known heirs).


An estate refers to the assets owned by a decedent. The estate is basically everything you own when you die and includes: cash, real estate, stocks, bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc. When someone dies without leaving a will, their estate goes through a probate process.

Real Property

Real property refers to any property that is located on land and is immovable and permanent. This includes land, buildings, houses, farms, etc. Real property is generally called “real estate” in everyday language.

Personal Property

Personal property refers to all property owned by a decedent that does not involve land or real estate. For example, personal property includes all food, clothes, furniture in your home, money in bank accounts, cars, etc. Personal property is more commonly referred to as “personal items” or “personal belongings” in everyday speech.


Somebody’s heirs are those persons who are entitled to inherit his or her assets upon his or her death under state law. In some cases, children born out of wedlock can inherit from their father’s estate (this depends on state laws as well as on such child’s paternity).

nown heirs are those persons who were listed by the decedent in his or her will and who are likely to inherit some of his or her assets after probate proceedings have been carried out. Unknown heirs are those persons who could potentially inherit something from the decedent’s estate but who were not mentioned by him or her in the will.


A beneficiary is anyone who is named in a will to receive some of the assets owned by a decedent after probate proceedings have been completed. Note that beneficiaries can include both individuals and organizations such as charities. Beneficiaries may be either known beneficiaries or unknown beneficiaries (the latter can potentially inherit something from a decedent’s estate even if they were not mentioned in his or her will).


Probate is a legal process that must be carried out when someone dies without leaving a will – or in several cases when there was a will. In order to manage and distribute an estate, probate proceedings must be carried out.

The executor of a deceased person’s estate is responsible for filing the required paperwork and getting probate proceedings started. This involves preparing and filing a petition with a court where the estate will be administered. Probate proceedings will continue until all assets have been distributed according to the decedent’s instructions or until his or her debts have been paid off.


A proceeding is a legal procedure that takes place in a court of law in order to resolve a legal dispute between two parties. In our case, the dispute involves the amount of time it takes to complete probate proceedings, how much money is going to be spent on administering the estate, etc. Probate proceedings are usually overseen by a probate judge appointed by a state government to handle cases involving estates and trusts.


As you can see, probate is a complicated process that can take several months to complete and involves multiple steps. If you have questions regarding it, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer in your area for advice and help – or research your local laws regarding this issue.

Hopefully, the information in this article has been helpful to you and gave you at least some understanding of the probate proceedings. Now, if you ever have to go through probate, you won’t have too many problems.