Although we have tried to use easy to understand language throughout this section, it may be helpful to first become familiar with a few special terms that relate to this area of the law. While not all of these terms appear in our material, you may come across them when you are dealing with estate matters.
Testator - The person who makes a Will.
Testatrix - Sometimes used to describe a female testator.
Estate - After a person's death, their assets and liabilities make up their estate. A person's estate can include personal possessions and real property.
Personal Property - Refers to goods and money, including items such as furniture, vehicles, jewellery, animals, clothing, stocks, shares, patents and copyrights.
Real Property - Refers to immovable property such as land and real estate.
Executor - A person named in a Will to carry out the terms of the Will.
Executrix - Sometimes used to describe a female Executor.
Administrator - A person appointed by the Court to handle the estate if the testator does not name an Executor in their Will, or no Will exists.
Beneficiary - A person named in a Will to receive some of the estate.
Bequest - A gift, usually of personal property, under a Will.
Devise - A gift or transfer of real property under a Will.
Codicil - An addition or change to a Will.
Intestate - A person who dies without a Will.
Probate - The Court process of proving that a Will is valid and administering the estate under the supervision of the Courts.
Letters Probate or Letters of Administration - Documents issued by the Court authorizing an Executor or Administrator to deal with an estate.