The intentional, illegal use of the property or funds of another person for one's own use or other unauthorized purpose, particularly by a public official, a trustee of a trust, an executor or administrator of a deceased person's estate, or by any person with a responsibility to care for and protect another's assets.
If a married couple has a community property estate of $500,000, each has a net estate value of $250,000. Assuming both spouses have wills that leave their estates to each other, when one spouse dies, the other will inherit the decedent's $250,000 estate. That inheritance is free of estate tax, because the marital deduction eliminates estate tax on anything from one spouse to the other.
The relationship between blood relatives where one is a direct descendant of the other. For example, a person has consanguinity with her mother, grandmother, and daughter. (See also: consanguinity)
Someone who receives benefits, under a trust or by will, only for his or her lifetime (or in rare cases, for someone else's lifetime). For an example, see bypass trust. (See also: life estate)
The document a probate court issues to an executor (personal representative) of a deceased person's estate, authorizing the executor to settle the estate according to the terms of the person's will. Banks, brokerages, and government agencies often require a certified copy of the letters before accepting the executor's authority to collect the deceased person's assets. (See also: letters of administration)
The document a probate court issues to the person appointed as administrator (personal representative) of the estate of someone who died without a will. The letters authorize the administrator to settle the deceased person's estate according to the state's intestate succession laws. Banks, brokerages, and government agencies often require a certified copy of the letters before accepting the administrator's authority to collect the deceased person's assets. (See also: letters testamentary)
A person or organization who receives a gift under the terms of a will. Historically, a legatee receives only personal property, not real property; however the word now is most often used to refer to a person who takes any kind of property under a will. Compare: devisee
Succession of right and property in a manner defined by the law. For example, intestate succession is legal succession because the law determines who inherits. However, testate succession is not legal succession because the testator decides who gets what.