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Common Terms

Common terms used in Wills include the following;

• Testator – A person who died after making a will. A female will maker is often called a testatrix.

• Executor – The person named in the will who is responsible for administering and settling the estate. A female is often called an executrix.

• Bequeath – To give by way of a will, often used to refer to personal property.

• Devise – To give by way of a will, often used to refer to real property.

• Residue – The property remaining after all specific gifts have been disposed of. A will often contains a residuary clause that leaves to all property of the deceased not otherwise disposed of to a residuary beneficiary.

• Self-proving affidavit – Some states allow this affidavit to be used at the time of the execution of the will to verify the valid signing of the will. It may simplify the probate process by dispensing with the need for the witnesses to be called to court to testify that the will was properly executed. The affidavit should be sworn to before a notary public.

• Codicil – This is used to add to, subtract from, revoke, or modify the terms of the original will. The codicil is subject to the same legal requirements as the will itself in order to be valid, and must make a reference to the will it amends.

Inside Common Terms