Common Estate Planning Terminology
Estate Planning Attorney Serving DuPage County
Will: a written document that specifies what is to be done with your estate at the time of your death.
Executor: the person designated in your will and appointed by the Court to administer the terms of your will.
Heir: a person related to you that may have rights of inheritance from you.
Legatee: a person named in your will to receive a share of property at your death.
Bond: an amount pledged or required to secure the performance of an individual to act.
General Bequest: an unrestricted share received under a will.
Specific Bequest: a specific item given to an individual under a will.
Will Contest Clause: a will clause establishing a penalty for an unsuccessful will contest.
Trust: a legal entity established, separating legal and equitable title of assets to be managed for the benefit of named individuals.
Grantor: the creator of a trust.
Settlor: the creator of a trust.
Trustee: the person named in a trust to administer the terms of the trust agreement and manage trust assets.
Fiduciary: a person designated to act in the best interests of another.
Contingent Beneficiary: a person named to receive a share of trust property only if a condition is met.
Beneficiary: the named individual to receive the benefits from the management of trust assets.
Specific Gift: the giving of a specific item of property to a named individual.
Children’s Trust: a resulting trust established to manage assets for an underage or incapable beneficiary.
Successor Trustee: the person named to implement the terms of a trust and manage trust property when the prior trustee is unable to act.
Power of Attorney for Property (POA): a written document created to name another as agent to handle affairs on behalf of the principal.
Principal: the person appointing an agent to act.
Agent: person appointed to act as agent of another.
Incapacitation: one’s inability to manage their own affairs, generally defined in a document.
Power of Attorney for Health Care (POHC): a written document created by a principal to name another as agent to make heath care decisions when the principal becomes incapacitated.
Organ Donation: the designation in a POHC to allow your agent to donate your organs, with or without restrictions.
Disposal of Remains: the designation in a POHC to allow your agent to decide how to dispose of your remains at death.
Access to Medical Information and Records: the written provision allowing your agent to have access to your medical information.
Probate: the court process required to transfer assets at death when the value of assets exceeds $100,000.
Surety: a guarantor of payment or performance of duties.
Claims Period: the time period (usually six months) that must elapse in an estate, after publication, to allow claims to be filed against the estate and bar claims thereafter.
Publication: the required publishing of a notice in a local newspaper to alert the public to the death of an individual and opening of an estate.
Testate: dying leaving a Last Will and Testament.
Intestate: dying without leaving a Last Will and Testament. State law then determines who gets the assets of the deceased.
Administrator: the person appointed by the Court to handle the affairs of an estate of a deceased person, who dies without a will.
Independent Administration: a streamlined, less restrictive probate process without a lot of court involvement.
Supervised Administration: a probate process with the judge more actively involved in estate matters.
Bond in Lieu of Probate: a process available in limited instances, to transfer real property on death, without probate proceedings.
Small Estate Affidavit: simplified written affidavit that can be used to transfer assets of an estate of a deceased if value is less than $100,000.
Joint Tenancy: means of holding title to property where named owners have undivided interest in the whole asset. The surviving joint tenant receives the asset immediately upon the death of the other joint tenant.
Payable Upon Death (POD): means of holding title to an asset and naming a beneficiary to receive the property at the death of the owner without court process.
Tenancy by Entireties: means of holding title for husband and wife, with both having interest in the whole property, allowing immediate passage at time of death to survivor and also provide limited protection from creditors.
Tenants in Common: means of holding title where named owners equally share property with held share remaining in estate of deceased at death.
For more information, contact the Oak Brook law office of Michael V. LoCicero, Attorney at Law.