Plan for Your Future.
Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Administration
Estate Planning (Start Here):
Glossary of Estate Planning Terms
- Beneficiary: The person or entity who receives property in accordance with a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement account, or other third-party beneficiary contract.
- Estate Tax: A tax on the transfer of property after death. This is levied by the state and/or federal government. An estate has the obligation to pay estate tax.
- Marital Deduction: An unlimited gift tax deduction or estate tax deduction. This type of tax law allows an individual to give assets to his or her spouse with reduced or no tax imposed upon the transfer.
- Power of Appointment: The power granted to a person allowing him or her to dispose or designate who is to receive certain property under the will.
- Probate: The judicial process which determines the validity of a will in a court of law and the martialing and distribution of the deceased’s estate.
- Trustee: The individual or entity that acts as the legal owner of the trust assets. They are responsible for handling any of the assets held in trust, tax filings, and distribution of the assets according to the instructions of the trust.
- Will: A legal document that identifies where your assets should be distributed after your death. This also gives you the ability to nominate guardians for dependent children. Without a will, the courts determine what happens to your assets and decides the legal responsibility for your kids.
What is estate planning?
It may involve a will and / or trust and the services of a variety of professionals: your lawyer, accountant, financial planner, life insurance advisor, banker, and broker.
What is my "estate"?
An estate may contain real property (real estate, houses, or investment properties) or personal property (bank accounts, securities, jewelry and automobiles, etc.).
What is the lawyer's role?
While lawyers are not required in order to plan your estate, it may be best to work with an attorney in ensure that your wishes are carried out. This is especially true if your estate is large, complex, or contains unusual assets.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Estate Planning
While it may be possible for individuals to draft some estate planning documents on their own, it is important to consult with legal professionals to ensure that your estate is administered as you would wish.
What is probate?
Should I avoid probate?
What is probate property vs non-probate property?
In comparison, non-probate assets bypass the court process and go directly to your beneficiaries based upon the form of title or a beneficiary designation. They don’t require a probate court order to pass the title.
Power of Attorney:
What is a Power of Attorney?
Will my Power of Attorney expire?
You should periodically meet with your lawyer to revisit your power of attorney and whether your choice of agent still meets your needs. In addition, some financial institutions require updated powers of attorney in order to be honored.