The process by which a Last Will and Testament is legally authenticated after the Testator’s death;  to establish the validity of a will;  or, if there is no will, the process to establish heirs to an estate.



1.) Surety – A person who has made himself or herself responsible for another’s debt or obligation.

2.) Probate assets – A decedent’s assets that are strictly in his or her name alone.

3.) Non-probate assets - A decedent’s assets that are in his or her name and someone else’s or has a beneficiary.

4.) Executor – One designated in a will to administer the estate of the testator.

5.) Administrator – One given the authority by the court to settle the estate of the decedent.

6.) Testate – One who dies leaving a valid will.

7.) Intestate – One who dies without a will.

8.) Beneficiaries – One who has been named in a will to receive from a decedent’s estate.

9.) Heirs – One who inherits property from decedent’s estate through intestacy.

10.) Bond – Long-term promissory note with stipulated interest issued by a corporation or the government; and obligation under seal.

11.) Appraisement and settlement form – A decedent’s list of assets.

12.) Final settlement – Either a waiver or accounting.

13.) Fiduciary commissioner – One of two County Commission Appointed Officials charged with overseeing the probate process.