Glossary of Legal Terms for Estate Planning

estate planning glossary - Carlson & Work

Estate Planning Glossary: A Guide to Understanding Legal Terms

Kindly be aware that this guide offers a broad overview and is not intended to replace professional legal advice. It is crucial to seek the assistance of an estate planning attorney with expertise in Nevada law to ensure accurate and personalized guidance that aligns with your specific circumstances.

  • 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.
  • Codicil: A legal document used to make amendments or additions to an existing will.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: A legal document that grants authority to a designated person (agent or attorney-in-fact) to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of another person (principal) in the event of their incapacity.
  • Estate: The total sum of a person’s assets, including property, finances, investments, and personal belongings.
  • Estate Tax: A tax imposed on the transfer of assets from a deceased person’s estate to their beneficiaries.
  • Executor/Executrix: A person or entity named in a will who is 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 who is unable to make their own decisions.
  • Health Care Proxy: A legal document that designates a person (health care agent or surrogate) to make medical decisions on behalf of another person (principal) if they become unable to make decisions themselves.
  • Intestate: The condition of dying without a valid will. In such cases, the distribution of assets is determined by state laws of intestacy.
  • Living Will: A legal document that specifies 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 that grants 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, which can be modified or revoked by the person while they are 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.
  • Testator/Testatrix: The person who creates and executes a valid will.
  • Trust: A legal arrangement where a person (trustor or grantor) 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 that specifies how a person’s assets and property should be distributed after their death.

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