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Estate Planning & Probate Terms

Beneficiary: Refers to a person who inherits a share of the estate of deceased person because he or she is named in that person's will. It also refers to the person who is entitled to income of a trust or the proceeds of an insurance policy.

Bequest: A gift of personal property or real estate in a will. It is commonly used interchangeably with the words "give," or "devise."

Codicil: A supplement, amendment, or addition to a will executed with all the formalities of the will itself. It may explain, modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, alter, or revoke provisions in a will.

Conservator: A person who is appointed by a court to manage the estate of a protected person who, because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his or her own affairs.

Durable Power of Attorney: A legal document that lets an individual designate another person to act on his or her behalf, even in the event the individual becomes incapacitated.

Executor: A personal representative appointed in a will who is responsible to perform tasks such as inventory the deceased's property and distribute it according to the deceased's wishes.

Intestate: Refers to a person who died without a will. In such cases the persons who will inherent the deceased's property is governed by the state in which they died.

Irrevocable: A term used to describe a trust in which the trustor (maker of the trust) has, by the terms of the trust agreement, specifically given up the power to alter, amend, or terminate the trust either entirely or in part. Issue: The natural and legally adopted children, grandchildren, and other direct descendants of an individual.

Life Estate: A condition created whereby a person has the right to use property only for his or her lifetime.

Per Stirpes: Describes the way a gift made in a will are to be divided among the deceased 's children or grandchildren. Specifically, if a child named in the will has died, his or her share is given to the deceased child's children.

Probate: Probate is the process of by which the executor gathers all the property of someone who died, pays all just debts and taxes, and distributes the balance to the people designated in the will.

Residual Estate: That portion of the estate that remains after all administrative expenses, taxes, and specific bequests have been paid. The person or entity named to receive all or part of the residual estate is said to have a residual interest.

Revocable: A trust in which the trustor (maker of the trust) has, by the terms of the trust agreement, reserved the power to alter, amend or terminate the trust and to receive the property back from the trustee.

Testamentary Trust: A trust that is created in the will of an individual upon his or her death.

Testator: The author of a will.

Trust: A legal arrangement through which one person, called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for the benefit of another person, the "beneficiary." The terms of the trust in which the trustee operates are set out in advance by the creator of the trust.

Trustee: An individual who holds legal title of property in a trust. A trustee owes a number of duties to the beneficiaries of the trust, including keeping the trust productive and dealing fairly with its assets.

Office Location

Stramer Law Offices
134 Main Street
Milford, MA 01757
Phone: 508-478-6944
Fax: 508-478-6949
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