Agent – A person authorized by another individual to act for or in place of him/her as in the Power of Attorney for Health Care and the Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Real Property.
Beneficiary – Person who has a beneficial interest or nominated in a trust or will to receive an interest in property other than in a fiduciary capacity.
Codicils – A supplement or an addition to a will; it may explain, modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, alter, restrain or evoke provisions in an existing will.
Decedent –The deceased person whose estate is subject to administration.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finance and Real Property – A written document appointing another person as his/her agent and confers authority to perform certain specified acts on the individual’s behalf. If the power is “Durable” the document becomes or remains effect when the individual becomes disabled or incapacitated.
Estate – All property of a decedent transferred by reason of the decedent’s death. Includes personal property, real property, bank accounts, stock bonds and other financial documents which do not have living beneficiaries.
Estate Taxes – The death taxes imposed by the federal government on the transfer of assets at death. Estate taxes are generally paid by the executor of the probate estate or the trustee of a living trust.
Fiduciary – The obligation to manage assets in the same way a prudent person would manage his own assets.
Guardian – A person lawfully invested with the power and charged with the duty, of taking care of the persons and managing the property and rights of another person because of age, understanding or self-control is considered unable to administer his or her own affairs. Also, called a “Conservator” for adults.
Heir – Person including the surviving spouse, who is entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to an interest in property of a decedent.
Incapacity – When a person has the inability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the capacity to manage his or her decisions.
Interested Person – Those people or entities having a legally recognized interest or benefit in the Court proceedings.
Intestate – To die without a will or dies without leaving anything to testify what his/her wishes were with respect to the disposal of his/her property after his/her death.. State law decides who will receive the decedent’s property.
Intestate Succession – Succession to title to property of a decedent by statute without regard to whether the property descends or is distributed.
Irrevocable Trust – A Trust that may not be revoked or changed after its creation.
Issue – Are children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, which can include adopted children and some nonmarital children and their lineal descendants
Joint Tenancy – Owners or joint tenants have one and the same interest. If one owner dies the survivor joint tenancy becomes the owner of the interest.
Life Estate – An estate whose duration is limited to the life of the individual holding it can be used in real and personal property.
Living Trust – Any living or testamentary private or charitable trust in property which is operative during the life of the Settlor.
Living Will – A document which governs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from an individual. Does not allow for an Agent to speak on the individual’s behalf.
Marital Property Agreement – Contract between married couples that defines all property of the spouses to be marital property and each spouse owns one-half interest in all property and is sometimes used as a substitute will.
Per Capita – A term used to describe how beneficiary will take interest in property. The method of dividing an estate by which an equal share is given to each of a number of persons, all of whom stand in equal degree. Example: Decedent has two children John and Jane, who both predeceased Decedent. John has one child, Jane has three children. All four children would receive the same – one-fourth of the estate.
Per Stripes - A term used to describe how beneficiary will take interest in property. The beneficiary will take the share which their deceased would have been entitled to have if he or she lived, taking by their right of representing such ancestor. Example: Decedent has two children John and Jane, who both predeceased Decedent. John has one child, Jane has three children. John’s child receives one-half. Jane’s children each receive one-sixth. (Jane would receive one-half, that one-half is divided by three children.)
Persistent Vegetative State - A condition that reasonable medical judgment finds constitutes complete and irreversible loss of all of the functions of the cerebral cortex and results in a complete, chronic and irreversible cessation of all cognitive functioning and consciousness and a complete lack of behavioral responses that indicate cognitive functioning, although autonomic functions continue.
Personal Representative – A person who will administer a decedent’s estate. May be named in a Will or by the Courts.
P.O.D. – Payable on Death. This form can be obtained while visiting your bank. Banking accounts such as CD’s, checking and savings accounts all require a P.O.D. form to avoid probate.
Pour Over Will – Will that has a provision in which directs the distribution of property into a Trust.
Power of Attorney for Health Care – An individual designates another individual as his/her agent to make health care decisions if the individual is considered incapacitated by two doctors.
Probate – A court procedure by which a Will is proved to be valid or invalid. If Will is valid then the estate will be administered. Probate starts with the filing of the decedent’s Will with the court, and ends after all taxes and debts of the decedent have been paid and the assets accounted for distributed in accordance with the terms of the decedent’s Will. Probate usually lasts for at least nine months and can often endure for two or more years.
Revocable Trust – A Trust which may be revoked or amended after the Trust has been created.
Settlor – Person who directly or indirectly creates a living or testamentary trust or adds property to an existing trust.
Successor Trustee – A person(s) selected by you and your spouse, who upon your demise or incapacitation will administers the assets placed in your trust and who will distribute the assets after you and your spouse pass away.
Tangible Personal Property – Property which refers to jewelry, clothing, household, furniture, furnishings, equipment and appliances, silverware, china, crystal, antiques, paintings, sculptures and other works of art, collections, personal effects, books and other tangible articles of a personal nature, together with an insurance thereon. This does not include any antique, painting, sculpture, other work of art or collection (such as of coins, wine, antiques, painting, sculptures or other works of art) having a value (or an aggregate value in the case of any collection) of more than $10,000 and shall be limited to items held for personal use and enjoyment and shall not include similar items, if any, held primarily for use in a trade or business or for the production of income.
Tenancy in Common - A form of ownership whereby each owner holds an undivided interest in property. Unlike joint tenancy there is no right of survivorship.
Terminal Condition – An incurable condition caused by injury or illness that reasonable medical judgment finds would cause death imminently, so that the application of life sustaining procedures serves only to postpone the moment of death.
Testamentary Trust – A trust subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the court assigned to exercise probate jurisdiction.
Trustee – A person holding in trust title to or holding in trust a power over the property. Can include original, added or successor Trustee. Trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to manage property in the Trust.
T.O.D – Transfer on Death. Stocks and mutual funds all require a T.O.D. form to avoid probate. You must obtain these forms from your brokerage.
Will – A testamentary documents which includes a codicil that will be administered under probate to pay final expenses, bills and distribute personal belongs of a deceased.