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Glossary of Terms for Estate Planning Administrator An individual appointed by the court to manage the estate of a person who died without leaving a will. (feminine is an administratrix) Administrator with Will Annexed An individual appointed by the court when a death occurs without a will or executor, or the named executor fails to act. Codicil An addition to or change in a will that has already been executed by the testator or testatrix. Devise A gift of real property under a will. Devisee An individual to whom real property is given under a will. Executor
(Executrix) An individual (or entity such as a bank) appointed by a decedent in his will to carry out the terms and provisions of his will. Holographic Will A will entirely written by hand, dated and signed by the testatrix and/or testator. Intestate The state of an individual not having prepared and left a valid will for probate. Legatee An individual to whom personal property is bequeathed under the terms of a will. Letters of Administration The formal authority and appointment given to an administrator by the court, empowering him to be administrator or administratrix Letters Testamentary The formal authority and appointment given to an executor by the court, empowering him to be executor or executrix. Nuncupative Will An oral will declared or dictated by a testator, before witnesses and afterwards written down. Public Administrator A public official who has prior right to administer an estate, when no other qualified person seeks appointment as administrator. Residuary Legatee One who receives the remaining portion of an estate after payment of the testator's (testatrix's) debts, devises and legacies. Special Administrator An individual who is appointed, by the court when the circumstances of the estate require an immediate appointment of a personal representative. Testate The state of having died leaving a valid will for probate. Will An instrument in which a qualified person legally and intentionally directs the disposition of his or her property to become effective after his or her death.