ClickCease Glossary of Estate Planning Terms - FAQ -

A written document with instructions for the distribution of an individual’s assets after death.

Sometimes referred to as a physician’s directive, it is a legal document in which you give directions for life-sustaining treatment should you become unable to communicate your wishes. Maryland law has combined this into the advanced medical directive.

Your living trust is unfunded if you have not transferred assets into it.

A trust protector is a person who has the ability to remove and replace trustees and make certain changes to a trust agreement. A trust protector cannot be a beneficiary of a trust or a financial advisor.

A personal representative is another name for executor or administrator.

Personal property is movable property. This includes furniture, automobiles, equipments, cash and stocks. It is the opposite of land.

Per Stirpes is a way of distributing your estate so that your surviving descendants will receive only what their immediate ancestor would have received if him/her had been living at your death. It comes from the Latin phrase meaning "by roots," by representation. The term is commonly used in wills and trusts to describe the distribution when a beneficiary dies before the person whose estate is being divided. Example: "I leave $50,000 to my daughter, Gigi, and if she shall predecease me, to her children, per stirpes."

The net estate is the value of an estate after all debts have been paid. (Federal estate taxes are based on the net value of an estate).

A durable power of attorney is a type of power of attorney that will come into effect and remain in effect if the person who grants the power becomes incapacitated. This person will have the authority to make health care decisions for you. This person is also called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney. A power of attorney gives another person full or limited legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence for asset management. It is valid through incapacity and ends at death.

A codicil is a written change or amendment to a Will.

A by-pass trust is another name for the “B” part of an A-B living trust because of the assets in this trust bypass federal estate tax.

What you paid for the asset at the time of purchase. The value is used to determine gain or loss for income tax purposes.

A beneficiary is the person or entity entitled to receive benefits from a will, insurance policy, trust agreement or employee benefit plan.

Assets are anything you own, including your home and other real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, investments, partnership interests, a business, furniture, jewelry, art, clothing, and collectibles.

An administration is an individual or entity, such as a trust department, appointed by a court to settle the estate of a person who has died without leaving a valid will.

A technique to allow gifts without the imposition of an estate or gift taxes.

Estate administration is the management of a decedent’s estate including the payment of expenses, debts and obligations, and the general settling of the estate.

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