Simple Definitions in Estate Planning
Whether someone has died or you are considering making a plan in the event of death, a simple definition of the terminology is a good place to start: (the following are definitions copied from Black’s Law Dictionary)
“Administration of Estate” means the management and settlement of the estate of an intestate, or of a testator who has no executor, performed under the supervision of a court, by a person duly qualified and legally appointed, and usually involving (1) the collection of the decedent’s assets; (2) payment of debts and claims against him and expenses; (3) distributing the remainder of the estate among those entitled thereto. The term is applied broadly to denote the management of an estate by an executor, and also the management of estates of minors, lunatics, etc., in those cases where trustees have been appointed by authority of law to take charge of such estates in place of the legal owners.
“Administrator” is a court-appointed individual, usually an attorney or accountant, who will process the Will through the probate court.
“Beneficiary” is the recipient of a distribution under a Will.
“Codicil” is a modification or amendment to the Will.
“Custodian” is an agent that performs various duties on behalf of a client, including holding securities in safe custody, executing financial transactions under specific instructions, and collecting periodic cash flows from investments.
“Estate” is the assets in the name of the decedent.
“Executor” is designated in the will as the individual who will carry out the wishes of the deceased.
“Gift” is a voluntary conveyance of land, or transfer of goods, from one person to another, made gratuitously, and not upon any consideration of blood or money.
“Gift Tax” means property transferred as a gift, or by inheritance or will, without any payment or monetary consideration in exchange, is typically liable to have a charge levied on it. The person/entity giving or the person/entity receiving the gift is liable to pay the charge, depending on local laws.
“Guardianship” means the office, duty, or authority of a guardian. Also, the relation subsisting between guardian and ward.
“Incapacitated” means that a person cannot perform their usual functions or duties due to a mental or physical disability.
“Intestate” means dying without making a will. A person is said to die intestate when he dies without making a will or dies without leaving anything to testify what his wishes were with respect to the disposal of his property after his death. The word is also often used to signify the person himself. Thus, in speaking of the property of a person who died intestate, it is common to say “the intestate’s property.”
“Inheritance” means an estate, descending to the heir.
“Probate” is the administration of an estate in court proceedings following death, in the state where the decedent resided and other states where real estate is located.
“Uniform Transfers to Minors Act” (UTMA) is a law that provides that any kind of property, real or personal, tangible or intangible, can be transferred to a custodian for the benefit of a minor. Each State may have adopted the UTMA and may have made modifications to the UTMA.
“Will” is the written designation for the distribution of the estate by the deceased.
Common Estate Planning terms relating to Trust Documents include: (the following definitions are copied from Black’s Law Dictionary)
“Beneficiary” means one for whose benefit a trust is created.
“Family Trust” is a trust that lets a parent transfer assets to children to prevent a spouse from getting it.
“Irrevocable Trust” means the Trust can’t be modified or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary. The grantor, having transferred assets into the trust, effectively removes all of his rights of ownership to the assets and the trust.
“Revocable Trust” is a trust whereby provisions can be altered or canceled dependent on the grantor. During the life of the trust, income earned is distributed to the grantor, and only after death does property transfer to the beneficiaries.
“Spendthrift” clauses are a person who by excessive drinking, gaming, idleness, or debauchery of any kind shall so spend, waste, or lessen his estate as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering or expose the town to charge or expense for the support of himself or family.
“Successor Trustee” means one who succeeds to the rights or the place of another: particularly, the person or persons who constitute a corporation after the death or removal of those who preceded them as cooperators. One who has been appointed or elected to hold an office after the term of the present Incumbent.
“Trust” means an equitable or beneficial right or title to land or other property, held for the beneficiary by another person, in whom resides the legal title or ownership, recognized and enforced by courts of chancery.
“Trustee” means the person appointed or required by law, to execute a trust; one in whom an estate, interest, or power is vested, under an express or implied agreement to administer or exercise it for the benefit or to the use of another.
“Trustor” or “Settlor” means a designation of the creator, donor, or founder of a trust.
Each of these terms has a basis in law and the interpretation of your facts to the law may vary. You should seek legal confirmation of your case.