Glossary of Alabama Probate Terminology

Alabama Code 43-8-1 provides a useful glossary on Alabama Probate Terminology frequently used throughout the probate administration process. See below for an excerpt from the foregoing code section:

  • (1) BENEFICIARY. As it relates to trust beneficiaries, includes a person who has any present or future interest, vested or contingent, and also includes the owner of an interest by assignment or other transfer and as it relates to a charitable trust, includes any person entitled to enforce the trust.
  • (2) CHILD. Includes any individual entitled to take as a child under this chapter by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved and excludes any person who is only a stepchild, a foster child, a grandchild or any more remote descendant.
  • (3) COURT. The court having jurisdiction in matters relating to the affairs of decedents. This court in Alabama is known as the probate court.
  • (4) DAYS. That period of time as computed in accordance with section 1-1-4 and Rule 6(a), Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • (5) DEVISE. When used as a noun, means a testamentary disposition of real or personal property and when used as a verb, means to dispose of real or personal property by will.
  • (6) DEVISEE. Any person designated in a will to receive a devise. In the case of a devise to an existing trust or trustee, or to a trustee or trust described by will, the trust or trustee is the devisee and the beneficiaries are not devisees.
  • (7) DISTRIBUTEE. Any person who has received property of a decedent from his personal representative other than as creditor or purchaser. A testamentary trustee is a distributee only to the extent of distributed assets or increment thereto remaining in his hands. A beneficiary of a testamentary trust to whom the trustee has distributed property received from a personal representative is a distributee of the personal representative. For purposes of this provision, “testamentary trustee” includes a trustee to whom assets are transferred by will, to the extent of the devised assets.
  • (8) ESTATE. Includes the property of the decedent whose affairs are subject to this chapter as originally constituted and as it exists from time to time during administration.
  • (9) EXEMPT PROPERTY. That property of a decedent’s estate which is described in section 43-8-111.
  • (10) FIDUCIARY. Includes personal representative, guardian and trustee.
  • (11) FOREIGN PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE. A personal representative of another jurisdiction.
  • (12) GUARDIAN. A person who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or incompetent person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment, but excludes one who is merely a guardian ad litem.
  • (13) HEIRS. Those persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.
  • (14) INTERESTED PERSON. Any person having an enforceable right or claim, which may be affected by the proceeding, and may include heirs, devisees, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries and any others having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent which may be affected by the proceeding. “Interested person” also includes persons having priority for appointment as personal representative, and other fiduciaries representing interested persons. The meaning of “interested person” as it relates to particular persons may vary from time to time and must be determined according to the particular purposes of, and matter involved in, any proceeding.
  • (15) ISSUE OF A PERSON. All his lineal descendants of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definitions of child and parent contained in this chapter.
  • (16) LEASE. Includes an oil, gas, or other mineral lease.
  • (17) LETTERS. Includes letters testamentary and letters of administration.
  • (18) MINOR. A person who is under 19 years of age.
  • (19) MORTGAGE. Any conveyance, agreement or arrangement in which property is used as security.
  • (20) NONRESIDENT DECEDENT. A decedent who was domiciled in another jurisdiction at the time of his death.
  • (21) ORGANIZATION. Includes a corporation, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal entity.
  • (22) PARENT. Includes any person entitled to take, or who would be entitled to take if the child died without a will, as a parent under this chapter by intestate succession from the child whose relationship is in question and excludes any person who is only a stepparent, foster parent, or grandparent.
  • (23) PERSON. An individual, a corporation, an organization, or other legal entity.
  • (24) PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE. Includes executor, administrator, successor personal representative, special administrator, and persons who perform substantially the same function under the law governing their status.
  • (25) PROPERTY. Includes both real and personal property or any interest therein and means anything that may be the subject of ownership.
  • (26) SECURITY. Includes any note, stock, treasury stock, bond, debenture, evidence of indebtedness, certificate of interest or participation in an oil, gas or mining title or lease or in payments out of production under such a title or lease, collateral trust certificate, transferable share, voting trust certificate, or, in general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a security, or any certificate of interest or participation, any temporary or interim certificate, receipt or certificate of deposit for, or any warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase, any of the foregoing.
  • (27) SETTLEMENT. In reference to a decedent’s estate, includes the full process of administration, distribution, accounting and closing.
  • (28) STATE. Includes any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession subject to the legislative authority of the United States.
  • (29) SUCCESSOR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE. A personal representative who is appointed to succeed a previously appointed personal representative.
  • (30) SUCCESSORS. Those persons, other than creditors, who are entitled to property of a decedent under his will or this chapter.
  • (31) TESTACY PROCEEDING. A proceeding to establish a will or determine intestacy.
  • (32) TRUST. Includes any express trust, private or charitable, with additions thereto, wherever and however created. It also includes a trust created or determined by judgment or decree under which the trust is to be administered in the manner of an express trust. “Trust” excludes other constructive trusts, and it excludes resulting trusts, guardianships, curatorships, personal representatives, custodial arrangements pursuant to chapter 5 of Title 35, business trusts providing for certificates to be issued to beneficiaries, common trust funds, voting trusts, security arrangements, liquidation trusts, and trusts for the primary purpose of paying debts, dividends, interest, salaries, wages, profits, pensions, or employee benefits of any kind, and any arrangement under which a person is nominee or escrowee for another.
  • (33) TRUSTEE. Includes an original, additional, or successor trustee, whether or not appointed or confirmed by court.
  • (34) WILL. Includes codicil and any testamentary instrument which merely appoints an executor or revokes or revises another will.

(Acts 1982, No. 82-399, §1-201.)


Ala. Code § 43-8-1 (1975)