Making a Will – Glossary

Glossary

administration (or grant of administration)

A legal procedure wherein the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (Surrogate Matters) appoints someone (an administrator) to administer the estate of a deceased person who died without a will. The Court’s authority for that administrator to act is given in a grant of letters of administration.

administrator

Someone who is given authority by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (Surrogate Matters) to manage and administer the estate of a deceased person who dies without a will. When an administrator is appointed, the Court issues a grant of letters of administration. (A female administrator is sometimes called an administratrix.)

adult interdependent relationship

A term unique to Alberta and governed by the Alberta Adult Interdependent Relationships Act. It is a “relationship of interdependence” outside of marriage where two people: share one another’s lives; are emotionally committed to one another; and function as an economic and domestic unit. To meet these criteria, the relationship need not necessarily be conjugal (sexual). It can be platonic.

There are two possible ways for such a relationship to exist.

  • If you have made a formal and valid adult interdependent partner agreement with the other person (two people that are related by either blood or adoption must enter into such as agreement in order to be considered adult interdependent partners); or
  • If you are not related by either blood or adoption and if you have
    • lived with the other person in a relationship of interdependence for at least 3 continuous years; or
    • lived with the other person in a relationship of interdependence of some permanence where there is a child of the relationship (either by birth or adoption).

assets

What you own. Assets can include things such as money, land, investments, and personal possessions such as jewelery and furniture.

beneficiary

A person or organization that you leave something to in your will.

bequest

Personal property left to someone in a will.

codicil

A document you make after you make your will that changes some of the things in your will.

debts

What you owe. These can also be called liabilities and may include credit card balances, loans, mortgages and taxes.

executor / executrix

These terms are still in use but will gradually be replaced by the term personal representative.

estate

All of the property you own at your death. The estate does not include property you own with someone else in joint tenancy, or joint bank accounts. The estate does not include insurance policies, RRSPs or RRIFs, or other things you own which specifically name someone as your beneficiary.

holograph will

A will that is completely in a person’s own handwriting.

intestate

A person has died without leaving a will.

joint tenancy

A type of ownership where any two or more persons (related or not) may equally own property and the property passes to the survivor or survivors on the death of one (without flowing through the estate of the deceased).

personal representative (previously known as executor / executrix)

The person you name in your will who is responsible for managing your estate and for carrying out the instructions in your will.

probate (or grant of probate)

A legal procedure that confirms the will can be acted on and authorizes the personal representative to act. The procedure includes submitting special forms and the original will to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (Surrogate Matters).

spouse

A person to whom one is legally married.

tenancy in common

A type of ownership where any two or more persons (related or not) own property, but, unlike joint tenancy, the shares need not be equal, and there is no right of survivorship (on the death of an owner, the share does not flow to the other tenant in common, but rather, flows through the estate of the deceased tenant in common).

testator / testatrix

A person who has made a will.

trust

A part of an estate that is set up to ensure ongoing income for a beneficiary, usually a dependent child.

trustee

The person or company named to manage a trust.

will

The legal statement of a person’s last wishes as to the disposition of his or her property after death.

You should NOT rely on this webpage for legal advice. It provides general information on Alberta law only. October 2015.
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