Davidson Law Glossary: Probate Terminology

It is a hassle to deal with the probate court, but you can avoid it with the right guidance. At the Davidson Law Group, we want to help all of our clients avoid the expense of probate. There are some key terms you should understand before our probate attorneys work with you.  

In each Davidson Law Glossary article, we explain the details and address common questions, so you can have the info you need to make informed decisions. If you have more questions or you need an experienced probate attorney on your side, reach out to the Davidson Law Group today.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a legal system that occurs after someone passes. It decides the distribution of the deceased person’s assets if there is no plan to disperse them. The probate procedure will take place regardless of whether or not the person left behind a will. Below, we have defined some basic probate terms that are important to know.

What Is an Estate?

An estate is all of the property and money owned by someone, especially at death. These assets include cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, investment accounts, life insurance, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, and other personal belongings.

Related Post: Davidson Law Glossary: Estate Planning Terms

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that explains your final wishes. A county court reads your will after you pass and ensures that your assets are distributed accordingly. In a will, you can also assign guardians for minor children and disabled adults.


The decedent is the legal term for the person who has passed whose estate is in probate.


A will usually names an executor, who is responsible for carrying out the terms of decedent’s will. An executor typically estimates the value of the estate, pays estate taxes and debts, and distributes the assets as the will declares.

Related Post: A Probate Attorney Breaks Down Common Probate Terms


If someone dies without a will, he/she is called an intestate person. Then, particular state laws decide how his or her estate should be handled.  


The probate court will elect an administrator if a person dies without a will or fails to name an executor in the will. Then, the administrator’s job is to fulfill the typical responsibilities of an executor. An administrator is also called a personal representative.  


If you create a will at a young age, you may need to change a beneficiary in the future. This term refers to the process of updating your will. A codicil is a document that may be used as an alternative to a will, or it may modify a previously executed will.

Let Our Probate Attorneys Assist You

The Davidson Law Group can help with all aspects of probate, from exploring alternatives to following procedural steps. We can direct you through each phase of the process regardless of your circumstances. Contact our probate attorneys in Fort Worth, Allen, or Tyler, and we will promptly begin working on your case.