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Estate Planning

Commonly Used Terms

Creating an estate plan or navigating the probate process can be intimidating. One of the biggest challenges in the process is the lack of familiarity with the terms and the applicable laws. One of the best ways to get a comprehensive understanding of the estate planning laws and the meaning of the terms is to contact an attorney. Reed Sherman Law Firm is available to assist you. We have provided a list of some of the most frequently used estate planning terms and definitions.

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Agent

A person who is granted legal authority to act on behalf of another person.

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Ancillary probate

A probate proceeding that takes place where the deceased person owned property but did not live.

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Assets

All property owned to include money, real, and personal property.

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Conservator

A person appointed by the court to manage the affairs of a person who is legally incapable of doing so. A conservator is also referred to as a guardian.

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Conservatorship

The court’s supervision of the conservator’s management of the affairs of a person who is legally incapable of managing his affairs.

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Decedent

a dead person; the deceased.

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Durable power of attorney

A power of attorney that remains in effect

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Estate

All that a person owns to include both real and personal property.

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Estate administration

is the management and distribution of your assets in accordance with the terms of your will, or in the absence of a valid will, in accordance with the state’s laws.

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Executor

A person named by the testator to carry out the provisions in the testator’s will.

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Fiduciary

One who must exercise a high standard of care in managing another person’s money or property.

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Guardian

A person appointed by the court to manage the affairs of a person who is legally incapable of doing so. A guardian is also referred to as a conservator.

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Guardianship

The court’s supervision of the guardian’s management of the affairs of a person who is legally incapable of managing his affairs.

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Holographic will

a handwritten will.

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Incapacity

Lacking the ability to legally make decisions.

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Irrevocable trust

A trust that is created and takes effect during the settlor’s lifetime; also called an living trust.

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Intestate

Dying without a will.

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Intestacy laws

The laws that govern succession to the estate of those that die without a will.

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Living trust

A trust that is created and takes effect during the settlor’s lifetime; also called an inter vivos trust.

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Living will

A document signed with the formalities statutorily required of a will, by which a person directs that his or her life not be artificially prolonged by extraordinary measures when there is no reasonable expectation of recovery from extreme mental or physical disability.

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Medicaid planning

Assessing the client’s eligibility and if needed, determining a spend down strategy to qualify the client for Medicaid.

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Medical directive

allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so.

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Power of attorney

allows you to grant someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.

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Probate

is the legal process of presenting the will to the Court after death to establish its authenticity, appoint an executor and facilitate the transfer of assets.

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Revocable trust

permits the grantor to maintain total control and access to all assets during the grantor’s lifetime, and provides for the distribution of assets to beneficiaries upon the grantor’s death.

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Special needs trust

A trust established to provide supplemental income for a disabled beneficiary who is receiving or eligible to receive government benefits.

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Trust

An estate planning tool that allows you to transfer legal ownership of assets into a legal entity and establish rules regarding the use and distribution of the assets.

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Trust administration

is the management of the trust assets in accordance with the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust upon the death of the settlor.

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Trustee

A person vested with the responsibility to manage trust assets and oversee trust administration to facilitate the management and distribution of trust assets.

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Veterans benefits planning

allows you to assess your eligibility and create a qualification plan while preserving your assets.

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Will

An estate planning document that provides instructions for the distribution of assets after death.

While understanding the terms is an important aspect of the estate planning process, creating a comprehensive estate plan requires a lot more than a familiarity of the terms. Reed Sherman Law Firm can provide personalized assistance to meet your specific needs. Give us a call at 775-4KEMLIA or contact us .