524.1-201 GENERAL DEFINITIONS.
Subject to additional definitions contained in the subsequent articles which are applicable to
specific articles or parts, and unless the context otherwise requires, in chapters 524 and 525:
(2) "Application" means a written request to the registrar for an order of informal probate or
appointment under article III, part 3.
(3) "Beneficiary," as it relates to trust beneficiaries, includes a person who has any present or
future interest, vested or contingent, and also includes the owner of an interest by assignment or
other transfer and as it relates to a charitable trust, includes any person entitled to enforce the trust.
(5) "Child" includes any individual entitled to take as a child under law by intestate
succession from the parent whose relationship is involved and excludes any person who is only a
stepchild, a foster child, a grandchild or any more remote descendant.
(6) "Claims" includes liabilities of the decedent whether arising in contract or otherwise and
liabilities of the estate which arise after the death of the decedent including funeral expenses and
expenses of administration. The term does not include taxes, demands or disputes regarding title
of a decedent to specific assets alleged to be included in the estate, tort claims, foreclosure of
mechanic's liens, or to actions pursuant to section
(7) "Court" means the court or branch having jurisdiction in matters relating to the affairs of
decedents. This court in this state is known as the district court.
(8) "Conservator" means a person who is appointed by a court to manage the estate of a
(9) "Descendant" of an individual means all of the individual's descendants of all generations,
with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined by the definition
of child and parent contained in this section.
(10) "Devise," when used as a noun, means a testamentary disposition of real or personal
property and when used as a verb, means to dispose of real or personal property by will.
(11) "Devisee" means any person designated in a will to receive a devise. In the case of a
devise to an existing trust or trustee, or to a trustee on trust described by will, the trust or trustee is
the devisee and the beneficiaries are not devisees.
(12) "Disability" means cause for appointment of a conservator as described in section
, or a protective order as described in section
(13) "Distributee" means any person who has received or who will receive property of a
decedent from the decedent's personal representative other than as a creditor or purchaser. A
testamentary trustee is a distributee with respect to property which the trustee has received from a
personal representative only to the extent of distributed assets or their increment remaining in
the trustee's hands. A beneficiary of a testamentary trust to whom the trustee has distributed
property received from a personal representative is a distributee of the personal representative.
For purposes of this provision, "testamentary trustee" includes a trustee to whom assets are
transferred by will, to the extent of the devised assets.
(14) "Estate" includes all of the property of the decedent, trust, or other person whose affairs
are subject to this chapter as originally constituted and as it exists from time to time during
(16) "Fiduciary" includes personal representative, guardian, conservator and trustee.
(17) "Foreign personal representative" means a personal representative of another
(18) "Formal proceedings" means those conducted before a judge with notice to interested
(20) "Guardian" means a person who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or incapacitated
person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment, but excludes one who is merely a guardian
(21) "Heirs" means those persons, including the surviving spouse, who are entitled under the
statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.
(22) "Incapacitated person" is as described in section
524.5-102, subdivision 6
, other than a
(23) "Informal proceedings" means those conducted by the judge, the registrar, or the
person or persons designated by the judge for probate of a will or appointment of a personal
representative in accordance with sections
(24) "Interested person" includes heirs, devisees, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries
and any others having a property right in or claim against the estate of a decedent, ward or
protected person which may be affected by the proceeding. It also includes persons having
priority for appointment as personal representative, and other fiduciaries representing interested
persons. The meaning as it relates to particular persons may vary from time to time and must be
determined according to the particular purposes of, and matter involved in, any proceeding.
(27) "Lease" includes an oil, gas, or other mineral lease.
(28) "Letters" includes letters testamentary, letters of guardianship, letters of administration,
and letters of conservatorship.
(30) "Mortgage" means any conveyance, agreement or arrangement in which property is
used as security.
(31) "Nonresident decedent" means a decedent who was domiciled in another jurisdiction
at the time of death.
(32) "Organization" includes a corporation, government or governmental subdivision or
agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint
or common interest, or any other legal entity.
(35) "Person" means an individual, a corporation, an organization, or other legal entity.
(36) "Personal representative" includes executor, administrator, successor personal
representative, special administrator, and persons who perform substantially the same function
under the law governing their status. "General personal representative" excludes special
(37) "Petition" means a written request to the court for an order after notice.
(38) "Proceeding" includes action at law and suit in equity.
(39) "Property" includes both real and personal property or any interest therein and means
anything that may be the subject of ownership.
(40) "Protected person" is as described in section
524.5-102, subdivision 14
(42) "Registrar" refers to the judge of the court or the person designated by the court to
perform the functions of registrar as provided in section
(43) "Security" includes any note, stock, treasury stock, bond, debenture, evidence of
indebtedness, certificate of interest or participation in an oil, gas or mining title or lease or in
payments out of production under such a title or lease, collateral trust certificate, transferable share,
voting trust certificate or, in general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a security,
or any certificate of interest or participation, any temporary or interim certificate, receipt or
certificate of deposit for, or any warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase, any of the foregoing.
(44) "Settlement," in reference to a decedent's estate, includes the full process of
administration, distribution and closing.
(45) "Special administrator" means a personal representative as described by sections
(46) "State" includes any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession subject to the legislative authority
of the United States.
(47) "Successor personal representative" means a personal representative, other than a
special administrator, who is appointed to succeed a previously appointed personal representative.
(48) "Successors" means those persons, other than creditors, who are entitled to property of a
decedent under the decedent's will, this chapter or chapter 525. "Successors" also means a funeral
director or county government that provides the funeral and burial of the decedent, or a state or
county agency with a claim authorized under section
(49) "Supervised administration" refers to the proceedings described in sections
(51) "Testacy proceeding" means a proceeding to establish a will or determine intestacy.
(53) "Trust" includes any express trust, private or charitable, with additions thereto, wherever
and however created. It also includes a trust created or determined by judgment or decree under
which the trust is to be administered in the manner of an express trust. "Trust" excludes other
constructive trusts, and it excludes resulting trusts, conservatorships, personal representatives,
trust accounts as defined in chapter 528, custodial arrangements pursuant to sections
, business trusts providing for certificates to be issued to
beneficiaries, common trust funds, voting trusts, security arrangements, liquidation trusts, and
trusts for the primary purpose of paying debts, dividends, interest, salaries, wages, profits,
pensions, or employee benefits of any kind, and any arrangement under which a person is
nominee or escrowee for another.
(54) "Trustee" includes an original, additional, or successor trustee, whether or not appointed
or confirmed by court.
(55) "Ward" is as described in section
524.5-102, subdivision 17
(56) "Will" includes codicil and any testamentary instrument which merely appoints an
executor or revokes or revises another will.
History: 1974 c 442 art 1 s 524.1-201; 1975 c 347 s 15; 1978 c 525 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1987 c
384 art 2 s 1; 1992 c 423 s 2; 1994 c 472 s 1; 1995 c 130 s 11; 1995 c 186 s 119; 1995 c 189 s 8;
1996 c 277 s 1; 1997 c 215 s 45; 1997 c 217 art 2 s 15; 2004 c 146 art 3 s 40