Although thinking of one’s own death is an uncomfortable task, many people agree that initiating some form of estate planning is prudent. However, some people may feel intimidated by meeting with an attorney to discuss their needs because of an unfamiliarity with the law. A good lawyer will discuss your available options in simple terms that a person with no legal training can comprehend. But you can also relieve some of that hesitancy by familiarizing yourself with legal terminology before meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney to discuss the appropriate choices for you. The following is a short list of common legal terms that may come up in an estate planning meeting:
Attorney-in-Fact: A person who is named under a Power of Attorney to act on behalf of another person.
Beneficiary: A person or entity that receives a benefit from an estate, trust or asset transfer vehicle.
Death Probate: The legal process used to assemble and transfer a decedent’s assets to the intended beneficiaries and settle a decedent’s outstanding debts.
Decedent: A person who has passed away.
Donee: A person or entity who receives a gifted asset from a donor.
Donor: A person or entity who gifts an asset to another person or entity.
Estate: All the assets owned by a decedent upon his or her death.
Executor/Personal Representative: The person responsible for settling a decedent’s estate.
Grantor: A person who transfers an asset to another person or entity.
Guardian of the Person: A court-appointed supervisor in charge of the care of a minor or incompetent person’s physical well-being.
Guardian of the Estate: A court-appointed supervisor in charge of the care of a minor or incompetent person’s financial well-being.
Testator: The creator of a Will.
Trust: A legal arrangement created to facilitate the transfer of property to a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary.
Trustee: A person or entity named in a trust agreement to be responsible for holding and administering the trust assets according to the terms of the trust.
Trustor: A person who creates a trust.
Will: A legal document used to transfer assets upon a decedent’s death.
Take just a few minutes to familiarize yourself with this short list of estate planning terms and keep it handy for future reference. Lawyers generally receive four years of undergraduate schooling followed by a minimum of three years in law school in order to learn the law. A good lawyer will be patient with you and explain those terms that are unclear to you. Familiarizing yourself a little bit with the law can make your estate planning experience more comfortable. Be sure to meet with a qualified attorney specializing in estate planning who listens carefully to your particular needs.
Morrison Law Group, PLC has devoted its practice to estate planning and elder law matters for more than 16 years and has been a Member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys since 2017. Morrison Law Group, PLC is one of only three firms in Louisiana to be admitted to Academy Membership. Throughout southern Louisiana, the firm has helped thousands of clients meet their estate planning goals and pass on lasting legacies to their loved ones. To learn more about how you can achieve your estate planning goals, please call our office, located in Metairie, Louisiana, at (504) 831-2348 or contact us through our website.