Letters Testamentary Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Letters Testamentary, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Letters Testamentary?

(n) Letters of Testamentary is the document issued by the court stating the authority of the executor of the estate of a deceased person, when the executors appointment is approved by the court .

History and Meaning of Letters Testamentary

Letters Testamentary is a legal term used to refer to a document issued by a probate court that establishes the authority of the executor of an estate of a deceased person. This document provides the executor with the legal recognition and power to manage the decedent's assets and distribute them according to the terms of the will.

The history of Letters Testamentary dates back to English common law, where the authority to distribute the assets of the deceased person was given to the ecclesiastical courts. The church courts would issue a document called "letters testamentary" to the executor or administrator of the estate, which conferred the power of managing the estate. When the United States gained independence from England, this power was transferred to the probate courts.

Examples of Letters Testamentary

  1. After the death of his father, John filed a petition in court and obtained Letters Testamentary to manage his estate.

  2. The judge appointed Mary as the executor of the estate of her deceased husband and issued her Letters Testamentary.

  3. The probate court issued Letters Testamentary to the lawyer representing the estate.

Legal Terms Similar to Letters Testamentary

  1. Letters of Administration: This is a document issued by a court appointing an administrator to manage the estate of a deceased person who died without a valid will.
  2. Probate Court: A court that has jurisdiction over the management of the assets and property of a deceased person.
  3. Estate: All the assets and possessions owned by a person, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property, that are subject to probate proceedings.