Compliments of Sterling & Tucker, LLP
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
Although considering the event of one’s own death can be uncomfortable, it’s imperative to start planning ahead and set up an estate plan that will guarantee security for your loved ones. Meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney will ensure you’re informed about the choices available to you, and help relieve some stress knowing your affairs will be in order after your death.
For some, this could be the first time you’re meeting with an attorney. Even if it’s not, many people might still feel slightly intimidated by the prospect of dealing with legal terminology they’re not acquainted with. While a good attorney will make sure you’re comfortable discussing your options, you can prepare yourself prior to your consultation by reviewing this list of common terms:
Advance Health Care Directive
A document containing directions for life-sustaining treatment should you become unable to communicate your wishes and are terminally ill.
A person or organization that receives a benefit from an estate, Trust or asset.
The legal process used to determine a Will’s validity, assemble and transfer a decedent’s assets to the intended beneficiaries, and settle any outstanding debts.
A person who has passed away.
A person or organization who receives a gifted asset.
A person or organization who gifts an asset to another person or entity.
Agent Under a Durable Power of Attorney
The person authorized to manage one’s financial and legal affairs according to instructions and limits provided within the power of attorney document.
All the assets owned by a decedent when he or she passes.
The process that entails transferring assets you own as an individual into the name of your Trust.
A person who transfers an asset to a Trust.
Guardian of the Person
A person appointed by the court to care for a minor or incompetent person’s physical well-being.
Guardian of the Estate
A person appointed by the court to care for a minor or incompetent person’s financial well-being.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization
Allows access to your confidential health information by your health care agent, loved ones, and anyone else whom you have designated.
An irrevocable Trust often used in Medicaid pre-planning as a way to qualify for Medicaid benefits and protect assets in the event of a nursing home stay.
The creator of a Will.
A legal document through which a Trustee holds property under a set of instructions given by the grantor. It can provide probate protection after death and many other benefits.
The person responsible for settling a decedent’s estate.
The person or entity in charge of the assets in a Trust. While you are alive, you may act as Trustee. A successor Trustee is in charge of Trust assets at the death or disability of the Trustor.
The person who creates a Trust.
A legal document used to transfer assets owned by the decedent upon a decedent’s death.
By reviewing this short list of common terms, you’ve hopefully gained more confidence as you arrange to meet with an experienced attorney. Even so, never hesitate to ask your questions if he or she uses an unfamiliar word, or for an explanation if there’s something you don’t fully understand. A qualified attorney in estate planning will make sure to listen carefully to your specific needs and help create a plan that will give you both security and peace of mind.