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Glossary of Legal Terms for Estate Planning

estate planning glossary - Carlson & Work

Estate Planning Glossary

A Guide to Understanding Legal Terms

Our Estate Planning Glossary is designed to shed light on common terminology surrounding estate planning. This guide serves as a broad overview and is not a replacement for professional legal advice. For accurate and personalized guidance, consult with a Nevada estate planning attorney.

  • Beneficiary: An individual or entity designated to receive assets or benefits from a will, trust, or life insurance policy upon the death of the person creating the estate plan.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: A legal document granting authority to a designated person to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of another person in the event of their incapacity.
  • Estate: The total sum of a person’s assets, including property, finances, investments, and personal belongings.
  • Estate Tax: The tax imposed on the transfer of assets from a deceased person’s estate to their beneficiaries.
  • Executor: A person or entity named in a will responsible for carrying out the instructions of the deceased person, including distributing assets, paying debts, and handling estate administration.
  • Guardianship: A legal arrangement where a court appoints a guardian to make decisions and care for a minor child or an incapacitated adult unable to make their own decisions.
  • Health Care Proxy: A legal document designating a person to make medical decisions on behalf of another person if they become unable to make decisions themselves.
  • Intestate: Dying without a valid will, leading to the distribution of assets determined by state laws of intestacy.
  • Living Will: A legal document specifying an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care if they become unable to communicate their preferences.
  • Power of Attorney: A legal document granting authority to a designated person (agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on behalf of another person (principal) in financial, legal, or other matters.
  • Probate: The legal process of validating a will, settling debts, and distributing assets of a deceased person’s estate under court supervision.
  • Revocable Living Trust: A legal entity created during a person’s lifetime to hold and manage their assets, modifiable or revocable by the person while alive.
  • Special Needs Trust: A trust created to provide financial support and care for individuals with special needs while preserving their eligibility for government benefits.
  • Trust: A legal arrangement where a person transfers assets to a trustee who manages those assets for the benefit of designated beneficiaries.
  • Trustee: The person or entity responsible for managing the assets held in a trust and carrying out the instructions outlined in the trust document.
  • Will: A legal document specifying how a person’s assets and property should be distributed after their death.
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