Ancillary Probate

Probate that occurs in a state other than the state where the deceased lived and where the Estate is primarily being probated.


An authentication required for international acceptance of notarized documents including affidavits, death certificates, and marriage certificates. The Apostille was instituted by The Hague Convention Abolishing The Requirements of Legalization For Foreign Public Documents of 1961.


A broad definition for any person or entity (ex: a charity) who is to receive assets or profits from an estate, trust, insurance policy or any instrument in which there is distribution.

Certified Copy

A copy of a document signed and verified by the officer to whose custody the original is entrusted.


Excludes stepchildren, foster children, grandchildren, or a more remote descendant who was not adopted.


Property and assets of a decedent that is the subject of administration.

Estate Plan

The combination of all legal documents, such as a will, trusts, power of attorney, health care surrogate designation, and more that sets out a person’s wishes for after they die as well as if they were to become incapacitated. The way an estate plan is drafted will drastically affect the probate process of the estate.

Estate Tax

A tax levied on the net value of the estate of the deceased before distribution to the heirs.

Forced Share

The portion of a deceased person’s estate that the surviving spouse is entitled to claim under state law.

Heirs (Heirs at Law)

Those persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.

Holographic Will

A will that is entirely handwritten. It is only valid under New York probate if it meets specific requirement set forth by law.


The house and lot of a homeowner which the head of the household has declared in writing to be the principal dwelling of the family so that part of its value has been exempted from judgment creditors. The declaration of homestead must be file with the County Recorded or Recorder of Deeds.

Interested Person

Any person who may reasonably be expected to be affected by the outcome of the particular proceeding involved.

Last Will & Testament

An instrument, including a codicil, executed by a person in the manner prescribed by the New York statutes, which disposes the person’s property on or after his death and includes an instrument which appoints a personal representative or revokes or revises another will.


A person under 18 years of age whose disabilities have not been removed by marriage or otherwise.

Other State

Any state of the United States other than New York and includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession subject to the legislative authority of the United States.


Excludes any person who is only a stepparent, a foster parent, or a grandparent who has not adopted the child.

Personal Representative

The person who is appointed to represent the Estate of the Deceased; also referred to as administrator or executor of the estate


The legal process in which a will is proved valid or invalid; the legal process wherein the estate of the deceased is administered and assets are distributed to the heirs of the estate.


A person’s place of dwelling.

Specific Devise

The gift in a last will & testament of a certain piece of real estate to a certain person or persons.


A legal document that is instrumental to the probate process. It names beneficiaries and assets that are properties of the trust, and not necessarily of the decedent. There are many different types of trusts, which is why it is important to discuss them with an Attorney while drafting your will and estate plan.