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Probate Language Oddities To someone looking in on probate law from the outside, it often appears as if probate lawyers and judges use very strange terminology. Some of the terminology is so odd it can appear as if probate law is written in an entirely different language. Let's take a look at some of the stranger terms you may encounter during the probate and estate planning process. Decedent The probate process takes place after a person has died. When the courts or probate attorneys refer to the deceased person, they often use the word “decedent” instead of his or her name. Decedent is simply synonymous with “the deceased,” and refers to the person who formerly owned the property the court is now considering. Testate and Intestate A decedent can die either testate or intestate, which simply means the person either died leaving behind a valid will or did not. If you create a will which is later determined by a court to be legally valid, you have died testate. If you never wrote a will or if a court later determined that your will did not meet state legal requirements, you die intestate. Inter Vivos The term “inter vivos” is a Latin phrase that means “between the living.” As used in probate and estate planning law, inter vivos describes a specific kind of trust, one that is created during your lifetime. An inter vivos trust is distinguished from a trust that you create in your will, known as a testamentary trust, because a testamentary trust does not become effective until after you die. An inter vivos trust takes effect after you create and fund it. Experienced estate planning attorneys Seattle WA of the Byrd Garrett PLLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Seattle WA. To learn more about these free resources, please visit http://www.byrdgarrett.com today.
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