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

Client Distinction Award 2015 - draft1.pdf
Estate Planning Questionnaire for a Single Person
Estate Planning Questionnaire for Married Couple


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