Common Terminology for Probates and Will Records:

Codicil: a signed, witnessed addition to a will.

Curation: a term referring to a court-appointed guardian or curator who looked after the interests of the deceased’s child who was of marriagable age (12 for girls, 14 for boys) until they turned 21. See also Tuition.

Executor/Executrix: person or persons named by a will to carry out the directions in the will.

Holographic Will: a will written, dated, and signed in the testator's own handwriting.

Intestate: term for someone who died without a will. The administrator is usually a relative of the deceased.

Inventory: lists belongings and their values, including such items as household goods, tools, and personal items. Occupations are often mentioned.

Joint Will: made by both husband and wife or two siblings.

Nuncupative Will: one spoken or dictated in the case of sudden illness or imminent death, which must be written and presented to probate court within two weeks. These wills are sometimes called “battlefield” wills, because mortally wounded soldiers would explain to a buddy or hospital attendant how to dispose of their possessions.

Testament: conveys personal (moveable) property to heirs. The term, Will, since early times commonly referred to both a Will and a Testament.

Testator: person who has written a last Will and Testament.

Tuition: appointment of a guardian for children under marriageable age (12 for girls and 14 for boys). See also Curation.

The Unofficious Will: a will in which the deceased leaves his property to strangers or organizations rather than their relatives.

Will: document conveying real (immovable) property to heirs after an individual’s death. A registered will is an official copy made by a court clerk.