This page will provide you with simplified definitions of legal terminology relating to Wills.

A court-appointed person who manages the estate of a deceased person who has died without a Will.

A person who receives funds, property, or other benefits from a Will, contract, or insurance policy.

An individual’s property and assets — including real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, and personal property such as automobiles and jewellery.

Estate Tax
A tax that is imposed upon a person’s death, on the transfer of certain types of property from their estate to their heirs and beneficiaries.

A person named in a Will who is authorized to manage the estate of the deceased person. The executor will collect the property, pay off any debts, and distribute property and assets according to the terms of the Will.

A person or institution that is legally responsible for the management, investment, and distribution of funds; i.e. the trustee identified in a trust.

An individual with the legal authority to care for another, usually a minor child.

A person’s inability to act on his or her own behalf, i.e. the “sound mind” requirement for drafting a valid Will. A court makes a finding of incapacity.

A term used when a person dies without a Will.

Power of Attorney
A written document that gives one person the legal authority to act on behalf of another person.

A process whereby a court reviews a Will to make sure that it is authentic, and allows others to make legal challenges to the Will.

Probate Fee or Probate Tax
Also known as Estate Tax. – A tax that is imposed at a person’s death, on the transfers of some types of property from their estate to heirs and beneficiaries.

A written document providing that property be held by one (the “trustee”) for the benefit of another (the “beneficiary”). A trust may be created during the grantor’s lifetime or after his or her death.

A person named in a trust document who will manage property owned by the trust, and distribute the trust income or property according to the terms of the trust document. A trustee may be an individual or a business.

A document that directs how property shall be distributed upon a deceased person’s death.