For years Palm Beach County citizens who have gone through the judicial system have been thoroughly confused due to the large array of legalese bandied about during probate court proceedings. This language, whose origin dates back generations, has long been utilized to clarify certain aspects of court proceedings by trained legal professionals. Despite the clarity for attorneys and judges, the language used has significantly diminished the typical lay person’s ability to interpret probate proceedings in an easily understood fashion, leaving some litigants at a distinct disadvantage.

When it comes to guardianship and conservatorship, confusion should be out of the question.

Many courts have begun to simplify the language they use in an effort to level the playing field for all parties involved. In many courts, outdated and ornate language has been eliminated all together. However, despite the change in many court systems, probate courts continue to regularly use language such as ‘testate’, ‘intestate, ‘fiduciaries’ and ‘beneficiaries’ when describing the parties and proceedings in probate hearings — including those addressing guardianship and conservatorships.

Many judges have begun to devise new ways of educating the public on the definitions of regularly used legal terms through publishing articles that are accessible to the general public. One judge in Minnesota recently took the time to explain some of the legal jargon used in Probate Court. For instance, while these courts traditionally dealt with proving the valid existence of a will, today it handles estates, guardianships, conservatorships, as well as civil commitments.

Unfortunately, no matter how much effort is put into clarifying legal proceedings, probate hearings – whether involving a simple estate, guardianship, or some other legal problem will be confusing to many. Fiduciary is a term that often applies to guardianship proceedings and basically defines someone who holds a special duty of trust to another. A probate attorney experienced in guardianships and conservatorships can help you untangle to confusion if you have questions regarding setting up or probating an estate.