Estate Planning Definitions
Beneficiary - One entitled to profit, benefit or advantage from a contract or estate.
Codicil- A written addition or amendment to a will.
Conservatorship - A formal proceeding in which the court appoints conservator to act on behalf of another in business and/or personal matters.
Contingent Beneficiary - One entitled to profit from a contract or estate only upon the occurrence of a specific event, usually one who receives assets at the death of the primary or lifetime beneficiary.
Decedent - A deceased person.
Descendants - Persons who follow decedent in line of descent.
Estate - The assets and liabilities, real and personal property, left by a decedent.
Estate Tax - Inheritance tax (See Unified Credit below).
Execute - The act of signing and notarizing trust documents.
Executor (Executrix) - Person or institution named in a will to carry out the will's instructions.
Gift Tax - Tax levied on gifts of property, to supplement estate and inheritance tax.
Grantor - One who creates a trust; the trustor; the settlor.
Intervivos - "Between the living" or "while living."
Intestate - One who dies without a will.
Issue - Lineal Descendants.
Joint Tenancy - A holding of property by several persons in such a way that any one of them can act as owners of the whole and take the property by survivorship.
Last Will and Testament - An instrument whereby one makes a disposition of his property to take effect after his death.
Life interest - An interest in property which is to terminate upon the death of the holder (or some other designated person) of the interest.
Living Will - A document which formally expresses your wish to forego extraordinary medical treatment when you become terminally ill.
Marital Deduction - Exempts from estate tax all property passing from one spouse to the other by reason of gift or death.
Pour Over Will - Instrument which provides that property not previously transferred into a revocable living trust is to be transferred at the death of the trustor.
Powers of Appointment - Power vested in an individual to make decisions affecting disposition on distribution of assets.
Power of Attorney - Formal instrument by which an agent is appointed.
Principle of Representation - Permits the descendants of a deceased beneficiary to receive the same share collectively that the deceased beneficiary would have taken if he had been living.
Probate - The process of proving a will.
Probate Court - Court established for the administration of the estates of decedents, and the control of the adoption and guardianship of minors.
Revocable Trust - A trust in which a contingent interest is given to another and in which the trustor retains a present interest, ownership, and control.
Sprinkling Power - The power vested in a trustee to distribute income to others over time.
Successor Trustee - Individual who succeeds to the power to manage trust assets.
Trust - A right of property, real or personal, held by one party for the benefit of another.
Trustee - One appointed to manage a trust.
Unified Credit / Estate Tax - The total credit provided by law which is free of estate taxation per individual. For 2009 it is $3,500,000. In the year 2010 there is no estate tax, however the estate tax goes back to $1,000,000 in 2011 and if Congress does not change the law the exemption will remain $1,000,000.00.
Estate Planning Forms
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