RESOURCES: GLOSSARY

ESTATE PLANNING TERMS

A - G | H - M | N - S | T - Z

Beneficiary
The person who receives part of a decedent's estate through a will, trust, life insurance or retirement proceeds.
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Codicil
An amendment to your will.
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Decedent
A person who has died.
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Estate
The decedent's property.
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Fiduciary
One who holds something in trust for another, such as a trustee.
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Heir
A person who inherits property.
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Intangible Personal Property
Property represented by an instrument, such as a stock certificate.
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Intestacy
Having died without a will.
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Issue
Offspring, such as children or grandchildren.
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Joint Tenancy
Title to property held in two or more names, upon death of one owner, his or her interest automatically passes to the others.
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Marital Property
Assets acquired during marriage.
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Non-probate Property
Property not subject to probate, such as life insurance or retirement benefits. This type of property passes according to written beneficiary designations, and not via a will.
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Personal Representative
The person or corporate representative appointed by a will or court to administer the decedent's estate through probate; commonly called the executor.
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Power of Attorney
The legal right to act in another's behalf.
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Probate
The court proceeding during which ownership of a decedent's property is transferred and taxes and bills are paid.
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Probate Property
Property that is distributed via will, such as cars, jewelry, or other tangible items.
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Tangible Property
Property that itself has value.
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Tenancy-in-common
When title is held in two or more names, and when one person dies, his or her interest passes via will or statutory designation.
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Testamentary Trust
Trust created by a will.
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Trust
A form of property ownership where title is held by a trustee who has a duty to managed the trust for the benefit of beneficiaries.
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Will
A legal statement directing the distribution of the decedent's property at death.
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