The failure of a gift of property left in a will because when the testator dies the beneficiary is deceased and no alternate has been named. California has a statute (termed an anti- lapse statute), which prevents gifts to relatives from lapsing unless the relative has no heirs of his or her own.

Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is a legal document that communicates a person's final wishes pertaining to assets and dependents.


An old legal word meaning a transfer of personal property by will. The more common term for this type of transfer is bequest or devise.


Also known as beneficiary. Person named in a will to receive property.


The court document that establishes the authority to act as a guardian, conservator, or personal representative (executor or administrator). In decedents estates, an executors letters are designated letters testamentary, and an administrators letters are letters of administration.


The type of ownership a person possesses in real estate when he/she has only the right of possession for his/her life, and the ownership passes to someone else after his/her death.


A type of conservatorship for developmentally-disabled adults.


A trust set up while a person is alive and which remains under the control of that person during the remainder of her life. Also referred to as inter vivos trusts.


Also known as a medical directive or advance directive. A written document that states a persons wishes regarding life-support or other medical treatment in certain circumstances, usually when death is imminent.


A lodgment is a means of submitting documents to the court temporarily. Generally this practice is reserved for a large number of exhibits that have either been deemed too large for the courts file or are needed on a limited basis. Another example of when documents should be lodged rather than filed is in the instance of original documents, such as bank statements, that are submitted in support of a one-time hearing, such as an Accounting.


A specific type of conservatorship, under the Lanternman- Petris-Short (LPS) Act, which allows for involuntary detention and treatment of a person (the conservatee). This conservatorship is a result of mental disorder and the conservatee appears to be a danger to himself/herself or others, or is gravely disabled. (See conservator and conservatee.)

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