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Probate Language Oddities by GarrettLawWA


									                                      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.

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 today.

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