Definition

What lawyers mean when they say ...

Sometimes lawyers are hard to understand because they are trying to discuss difficult things. But sometimes lawyers are hard to understand because they say things in a way that nobody else does.

Why? I don't know.

But I may be able to help interpret some of these. To get started, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Phrase: Govern yourself accordingly. 
    Translation: I’m a lawyer. Please don’t ignore me.

  • Phrase: Please find enclosed … / Enclosed for your consideration …
    Translation: In case you missed it, there's a document included with this letter.

  • Phrase: I am in receipt of your letter … 
    Translation: I got that letter you sent.

  • Phrase: There appears to be a misunderstanding about …
    Translation: You’re wrong.

  • Phrase: I’m confused about …
    Translation: You’re wrong.

  • Phrase: I’m not sure I understand …
    Translation: You’re wrong.

Like I said, these are just a few of my favorites. I'll add more as they come across my desk.

And if you want to send me some, I'll try to post them here. Send your crazy lawyer words to scott@sbfieldslaw.com. Thanks.

 The statements in this blog are generalities, and exceptions exist. And, as always, this post is not legal advice. If you have any questions about this information or about what to do when a loved one passes, please contact us.

Who is involved with an Estate?

Just like other terms involved with an estate, there can be specific names for some of the people involved.

  • Decedent - the person who has died. Unfortunately, the probate process starts when a person passes away. That person also may be called the "Deceased."

  • Heir - a person who will inherit from the Decedent's estate if there is no Will. This usually is the Decedent's spouse and children, but if they aren't alive, then things get pretty complex.

  • Beneficiary - a person who will inherit if there is a Will. Sometimes a Beneficiary is also an Heir; but they do not have to be the same person.

  • Administrator - the person who administers the estate if there is no Will. In more traditional legal writing, a man was called an Administrator and a woman with the same job was called an Administratrix. But the term Administrator also can refer to either a man or woman.

  • Executor - If there is a Will, this is the person who does what the Will says. Again, traditionally, a man was an Executor and a woman was an Executrix. And again, the term Executor can be gender-neutral.

  • Personal Representative - the newer, catch-all phrase including both Administrator and Executor. However, because there are important differences between an Administrator and Executor, some people still use those terms instead.

The statements in this blog are generalities, and exceptions exist. And, as always, this post is not legal advice. If you have any questions about this information or about what to do when a loved one passes, please contact us.

What is an Estate?

Here are some additional terms people use when talking about Probate:

  • Estate Assets - the stuff a person owned when he or she died (usually property and money).

  • Estate Liabilities - usually, the money a person owed when he or she died. Sometimes, a person may also have legal liabilities, which usually are the potential claims for lawsuits against that person.

  • Estate - the collection of a person's assets and liabilities when he or she died.

  • Estate Administration - the process of (1) collecting & preserving the estate’s assets, (2) settling the estate’s liabilities, and (3) distributing any remaining assets to the person's heirs or beneficiaries (more on those later).

The statements in this blog are generalities, and exceptions exist. And, as always, this post is not legal advice. If you have any questions about this information or about what to do when a loved one passes, please contact us.

What is Probate?

In Georgia, "probate" generally has three meanings:

  • Probate Court - this is the Court that handles matters like estates, marriage licenses, gun licenses, and a few other things. Each county in Georgia has a Probate Court, usually in or near the county's courthouse.

  • Probating a Will - technically, probate is the process of "proving" a person's Last Will and Testament. This is basically the Probate Court taking a look at a Will and saying, "yep, that's valid" and appointing a person as Executor (a.k.a. Personal Representative) to do what the Will says.

  • Probating an estate - sometimes, people use the word probate to mean the process of administering an estate, whether or not there is a Will. Administering an estate is generally collecting an estate's assets, paying an estate's debts, and then disbursing whatever assets (if anything) are left over.

The statements in this blog are generalities, and exceptions exist. And, as always, this post is not legal advice. If you have any questions about this information or about what to do when a loved one passes, please contact us.