Blog - Estate Planning Glossary

By Findlay Craft
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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There are a lot of Estate Planning terms that can be confusing to some. We have compiled a glossary of the most questioned terms our clients ask us when we assist with their estate planning needs. If you have any questions or need help with your estate planning, call one of our experienced attorneys who can guide you through this process.

  • Asset – Anything a person owns that has value.
  • Beneficiary – A person designated to receive income or proceeds from an insurance policy, annuity, or retirement plan, take assets under a will, or receive benefits from a trust.
  • Decedent – the person who had died.
  • Estate – All assets left by the decedent.
  • Estate Planning – The process by which a person plans for transferring his or her assets at death.
  • Executor or Personal Representative – A person appointed in a will to collect the estate assets, pay the decedent’s outstanding debts and taxes, and ultimately distribute the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.
  • Heir – A person entitled to inherit all or a portion of the estate of a person who has died without a will.
  • Intestacy – The distribution of estate assets when the person dies without a will. In intestacy, a court with jurisdiction over property in the estate distributes a deceased person’s assets by applying single, one-size-fits-all formula according to the jurisdiction’s law of intestacy or probate code.
  • Power of Attorney – A legal document that authorizes a person to act on another’s behalf for specific purposed and under specific conditions.
  • Probate – The entire process of administering and distributing a deceased person’s estate, whether by will or intestacy. Probate is typically supervised by a court and may include a determination of the validity of a will. Probate includes finding and collecting all the decedents’ assets, paying all of the decedent’s outstanding debts and other obligations, and distributing the remaining estate assets to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.
  • Testate – Dying with a will. A person who makes or has made a will is a testator.
  • Trust – A trust is a legal mechanism in which property is held by one person or entity, the trustee, for the benefit of another person, the beneficiary, pursuant to the terms of a written trust agreement. There are many different kinds of trusts.
  • Will – A legally executed document that explains how a person wants his or her property distributed after death.

Findlay Craft