Some people feel uncomfortable meeting with an attorney to discuss their estate planning needs because of an unfamiliarity with the law. A good lawyer will discuss your available options in simple terms that a person with no legal training can comprehend.
You can also relieve some of that hesitancy by familiarizing yourself with legal terminology before meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney to discuss the appropriate choices for you. The following is a short list of common legal terms that may come up in an estate planning meeting. Take just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with this list and keep it handy for future reference.
A person who is named under a Power of Attorney to act on behalf of another person. Also commonly reviewed to as an “agent” or “power of attorney.”
A person or entity that receives a benefit from an estate, trust, or asset transfer vehicle.
The legal process used to assemble and transfer a decedent’s probate assets to the intended beneficiaries and settle a decedent’s outstanding debts.
A person who has passed away.
All the assets owned by a decedent upon his or her death.
The person responsible for settling a decedent’s estate.
A person who transfers an asset to another person or entity, such as in a real estate deed.
A person who creates a trust. (Also sometimes called a “trustor” or “settlor.”)
Guardian of the Person:
A court-appointed supervisor in charge of the care of a minor or incompetent person’s physical well-being.
Guardian of the Estate:
A court-appointed supervisor in charge of the care of a minor or incompetent person’s financial well-being.
A trust in which the trustor has not reserved the right to revoke and cannot change the wording in the trust.
A trust established and operating during the trustor’s lifetime.
An asset of a decedent that is owned by a trust, is in joint name with another individual, or has a beneficiary designation.
An asset in a decedent’s sole name, with no beneficiary designation.
A trust in which the trustor reserves the right to revoke.
Special Needs Trust:
A trust typically established for a disabled individual who receives needs-based public benefits.
The creator of a will.
A legal arrangement in which the Grantor transfers assets to the Trustee and creates instructions for the Trustee to following in using such assets for a beneficiary.
A person or entity named in a trust agreement to be responsible for holding and administering the trust assets according to the terms of the trust.
A legal document used to transfer probate assets upon a decedent”s death.
Jeff is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, a distinction held by only a handful of lawyers in Indiana. For almost 20 years, he has focused on elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, Veterans Affairs benefits planning, special needs planning, guardianships, and estate administration.