GLOSSARY

SEALED RECORD

A record closed by a court to further inspection by anyone unless further ordered by the court (compare confidential record, public record).

SELF-PROVING WILL

A will accompanied by a sworn statement signed by the witnesses under penalty of perjury. Many states accept such wills in order to avoid the cumbersome process of requiring an executor to track down the witnesses.

SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR

A person appointed to be responsible for a deceased person's property for a limited time or during an emergency, such as a challenge to the will or to the qualifications of the named executor. In such cases, the special administrator's duty is to maintain and preserve the estate, not necessarily to take control of the probate process.

SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS

In 1990, Congress enacted federal law to assist certain undocumented children in obtaining lawful permanent residence through a special immigrant visa category known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This law helps certain undocumented children in the state juvenile system to become Lawful Permanent Residents. Children involved in adoption or guardianship proceedings who have been abandoned, abused or neglected may be able to obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and, based on that, apply to become a Lawful Permanent Resident.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST

A Special Needs Trust enables a person under a physical or mental disability, or an individual with a chronic or acquired illness, to have, held in Trust for his or her benefit, an unlimited amount of assets. In a properly-drafted Special Needs Trust, those assets are not considered for purposes of qualification for certain governmental benefits.

SPECIFIC BEQUEST

A specific item, distinguished from all others of the same kind belonging to the testator that is designated in the will as going to a specific beneficiary. If the specific item is no longer in the estate when the decedent dies, the bequest fails and resort cannot be made to other property of the decedent.

SPENDTHRIFT TRUST

A trust designed to keep money out of the hands of creditors. Often established to protect someone who is incapable of managing his or her financial affairs.

STANDING

The legal right to initiate a lawsuit. To possess standing, a person must be sufficiently affected by the matter at hand, and there must be case or controversy that can be resolved by legal action.

STATUTE

Any written law passed by a state or federal legislative body.

STATUTORY WILL

California form will.

STIPULATION

An agreement between parties or their attorneys.

SUA SPONTE

From the Latin: of its own will. Commonly used when a judge does something not specifically requested by either party in a case.

SUBSTITUTED JUDGMENT

A legal doctrine by which the court may authorize or direct the conservator to take certain actions relating to the conservatee's estate. This may include making gifts or transferring assets to trusts.

SUCCESSOR FIDUCIARY

The next person, or organization, appointed as when a vacancy arises in a conservatorship, guardianship, or decedent's estate because of the fiduciary's death, removal, or resignation.

SUPPLEMENT

Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole. In Probate, these are generally filed to correct defects noted by the Probate Examiner.

SURCHARGE

A money judgment which the court can impose on the fiduciary if the fiduciary's improper acts cause a loss to the estate.

SURETY

One who undertakes to pay money or do any other act in the event that his principal fails therein. One bound with his/her performance of some duty or promise and who is entitled to be indemnified by someone who ought to have paid or performed if payment or performance be enforced against him/her.

SURETY BOND

See bond.

SURETY BOND RIDER

A surety bond rider, also called a superseded suretyship rider, is an addendum which the surety attaches to a surety bond in order to lengthen the discovery period beyond the span of time originally indicated in the bond's terms.

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