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Testate - Will (when there is a legal will when one passes)

  • Grants the executor or executrix full authority to sell any assets in the estate without seeking court approval.

  • Directs disposition of the estate and settlement of legal affairs.

  • Designates Executor, executor initiates probate.

  • Designates heirs.

Intestate - No will (when there is no legal will when one passes)

  • The court appoints an administrator for the case, usually a blood relative.

  • The court often limits the authority of the PR because they were not originally named in the will.

  • The court often ask them to post a bond so that they have a vested interest in the estate.

  • Must seek court approval when they sell assets in the estate.

  • If there is partial authority, what has to be approved will be listed.

Notice of Proposed action (NOPA) -

   Must be issued to all heirs explaining the actions to be taken by the PR in regards to the real estate     and other assets, except when the will indicates "without Notice".


Limited authority - need court supervision.


Full Authority - you have the sole responsibility for making decisions.


Independent od Administration of Estate Act (IAEA) is a series of laws allowing the personal representative to administer most aspects of the decedent's estate without court supervision. The authority to administer the estate under the IAEA can be given by the decedents will or by the court upon the petition by the personal representative.


Bond- is to protect the assets and estate if PR misconduct.


If a deceased specifically names a person or institution to act for him or her in his or her will and if the will is accepted as valid, the named personal representative is known as the executor (male) or executrix (female).


Codicil – an addition to the will, may modify, add to, subtract from, or revoke provisions in the will. The codicil is a separate document.


Domicile – The specific location of a person's permanent residence.

Grantor - The individual or corporation who makes a grant (transfer) of property to another person (grantor of trust, grantor of deed of property).
Settlor- another word for Grantor or trustor of a trust. The person who "settles" the assets into the trust.

Revocable Trust - A living trust is a type of trust that operates when the grantor is still alive. If the grantor wants the right to change the terms of the trust or end the trust

Special types of Probate:

Will - A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be carried out. There are three kinds of Wills:

(1) Holographic—written entirely in the handwriting of the person writing the Will. 

(2) Standard, formal typewritten—printed or typed. 

(3) Partially handwritten and partially typed. The requirements for a valid Will are different for each type of Will.



The person or corporation who legally has charge of the care and management of the person, property, or both the adult who is unable to provide for his own personal needs or who can substantially unable to manage his financial affairs. Limited conservatorships may be established for developmentally disabled adults.

Guardianship -


The individual or corporation who legally has charge of the care and management of the person, property, or both, of a child during his minority.

Living Trust -


Living trusts are a legal tool used for financial planning. They are a commonly used alternative to wills that allow California individuals and families to pass their assets to heirs and avoid the probate process. In California, you can make a living trust to avoid probate for virtually any asset you own—real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and so on. You need to create a trust document (it's similar to a will), naming someone to take over as trustee after your death (called a successor trustee).

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