Probate Glossary

The Probate Code has its own language. Here is a brief definition of terms used in this site and in the Probate Code.

Administrator: Any person appointed by the court to administer an intestate (no will) estate

Bequeath: Includes the word "devise" when used as a verb

Bequest: Includes the word "devise" when used as a noun

Charges: Includes costs of administration, funeral expense, cost of monument and federal estate taxes

Child: Includes a biological child or an adopted child, but does not include a grandchild or other more remote descendants

Clerk: " Clerk of the District Court" in the county in which the matter is pending and includes the term " Clerk of the Probate Court"

Conservator: A person appointed by the court to have custody and control of the property of a ward under the provisions of the Probate Code

Costs of administration: Includes court costs, fiduciary fees, attorney fees, all appraisers' fees, premiums on corporate surety bonds, statutory allowance for support of surviving spouse and children, cost of continuation of abstracts of title, recording fees, transfer fees, transfer taxes, agents' fees allowed by order of court, interest expense, including interest payable on extension of federal estate tax, and all other fees and expenses allowed by court order in connection with the administration of the estate. Court costs shall include expenses of selling property.

Court: The Iowa district court sitting in probate and includes any Iowa district judge

Debts: Includes liabilities of the decedent that survive, whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise

Devise: When used as a noun, to dispose of property, both real and personal, by a will

Devise: When used as a verb, to dispose of property, both real and personal, by a will

Devisee: Includes legatee

Distributee: A person entitled to any property of the decedent under the decedent's will or under the statutes of intestate succession

Estate: The real and personal property of either a decedent or a ward, and may also refer to the real and personal property of a trust described in Section 633.10

Executor: Any person appointed by the court to administer the estate of a testate decedent

Fiduciary: Includes personal representative, executor, administrator, guardian, conservator and the trustee of any trust described in Section 633.10

Full age: The state of legal majority attained through arriving at the age of 18 or through having married, even though such marriage is terminated by divorce

Functional limitations: Means behavior or a condition that impairs a person's ability to care for his or her safety or to attend to or provide for his or her necessities

Guardian: The person appointed by the court to have custody of a ward under the provisions of the Probate Code

Guardian of the property: At the election of the person appointed by the court to have the custody and care of the property of a ward, the term "guardian of the property" may be used and shall be synonymous with the term "conservator."

Heir: Any person, except the surviving spouse, who is entitled to property of a decedent under the statutes of intestate succession

Incompetent: Means the condition of any person who has been adjudicated by a court to meet at least one of the following conditions:

  1. To have a decision-making capacity that is so impaired that the person is unable to care for his or her personal safety or to attend to or provide for necessities such as food, shelter, clothing or medical care, without which physical injury or illness may occur
  2. To have a decision-making capacity that is so impaired that the person is unable to make, communicate or carry out important decisions concerning the person's financial affairs
  3. To have a decision-making capacity that is so impaired that both paragraphs above apply

Issue: For the purposes of intestate succession, includes all lawful lineal descendants of a person, whether biological or adopted, except those who are the lineal descendants of the person's living descendants

Legacy: A testamentary disposition of personal property

Legatee: A person entitled to personal property under a will

Letters: Includes letters of testamentary, letters of administration, letters of guardianship, letters of conservatorship and letters of trusteeship

Minor: A person who is not of full age

Person: Includes natural people and corporations

Personal representative: Includes executor and administrator

Property: Includes both real and personal property

Surviving spouse: The surviving wife or husband, as the case may be

Temporary administrator: Any person appointed by the court to care for an estate pending the probating of a proposed will, or to handle any special matter designated by the court

Trustee: The person(s) serving as trustee of a trust described in Section 633.10

Trusts: Includes only those trusts described in Section 633.10

Will: Includes codicil; it also includes a testamentary instrument that merely appoints an executor and a testamentary instrument that merely revokes or revives another will

Further definitions are found in Iowa Code Section 633.3.