Glossary and Definitions of Terms Used on This Page for NJ Estate Administration and Probate

Vocabulary words have meaning both in life and in the law. Below I have listed the most frequent terms used on this website and what each word means. The terms are listed in alphabetical order. I am certain this glossary will be of assistance to you in your reading.

If we at Hanlon Niemann & Wright can be of assistance to you now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at

Administrator/rix – a person appointed by the Surrogate to take charge of the Estate of a decedent who dies without a Will. Also called a personal representative.

Beneficiary – a person designated to receive money, property, or benefits in a Will.

Bequest – a gift of personal property through a Will.

Caveat – a formal notice given by someone to prevent the proving of a Will or the grant of administration of an Estate.

Codicil – an addition or supplement to an original Will that adds to or deletes only part of a Will.

Decedent – a deceased person.

Devise – a gift of real estate through a Will.

Domestic Partner – Two people that are not related and 18 years of age and of the same sex or of the opposite sex age 62 or older.

Estate – real and personal property and possessions; everything a person owns.

Executor/rix – a person named in a Will to carry out the wishes and intentions of the Will, also known as a personal representative.

Guardian – a person who has been qualified and/or been appointed as a guardian of the person and/or property of a minor or adult mental incompetent.

Heir – a person who inherits property from a deceased person.

Intestate – when a person dies without a Will.

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship – two or more persons owning real estate where the survivor will inherit the property.

Legatee – a person who receives a gift under a Will.

Personal property – intangible property, such as stocks, bonds, or bank accounts, and tangible property such as jewelry, furniture, or an automobile.

Probate – official proof of authenticity or validity of a Will.

Real property – land and/or buildings.

Surrogate – the elected county official who oversees probate in the State of New Jersey.

Tenants in Common – two or more people owning undivided individual interests in a single piece of property.

Tenants by the Entirety – real property owned as husband and wife with rights of survivorship.

Testator/rix – the person who makes a Will.

Trust – property owned or managed by a person for another.

Trustee – a person holding property in trust for another.

Will – a legal declaration of the manner in which a person wishes Estate to be divided after death

Witness – a person who observes the signing of a Will and/or codicil and attests to the signature of the Testator/rix.


Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

Have questions about NJ estate administration and probate? If so, call our office today. Ask for Mr. Niemann to personally discuss your questions and individual situation toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail him at

Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey Estate Administration and Probate Attorney

Estate Administration and Probate Attorney serving these New Jersey Counties:

Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Camden County, Mercer County, Middlesex County,
Bergen County, Morris County, Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County