Some Helpful Definitions



Estate:  The assets a person accumulates during their life.

Probate:  A court proceeding that transfers and distributes a decedentís assets to the beneficiaries.

Personal Representative:  [Called Executor in many other states] Manages the estateís assets through the probate process.

Joint Tenancy:  A method of ownership of property by two or more people where upon the death of one owner, the survivor has full title.

Estate Tax Credit:  The amount a decedentís estate may transfer to a beneficiary without incurring any estate tax. 
    2005 = 1.5 million
    2006 = 2.0 million
    2009 = 3.5 million -- Today
    2010 = unlimited
    2011 = 1M
 Best guess is for new legislation at 3M + inflation enacted sometime after 2009.

Everything above the Estate Tax Credit is taxed at 46% in 2009.

Testate:  Dying with a will

Intestate:  Dying without a will [and letting the state laws govern the distribution of the estate]

Execute a Will:  The process of signing the document.  Two disinterested witnesses are required.

Contesting a Will: Objections raised during the probate process that seeks to alter the proposed distributions.

Trust: A financial entity to own money with a provision for a division between the manager and beneficiary

Funding a Trust:  The process of re-titling assets from personal or joint ownership to trust ownership.

Trustee:  Manager of the trust assets.  Also known as a fiduciary.

Grantor:  The person[s] who create a trust and then fund it.  Also know as a settler

Testamentary Trust:  A trust created upon someoneís death either by his or her will or by a living revocable trust.

Revocable Trust:  A trust where assets can flow freely in and out and where the terms and conditions can be readily amended or revoked.

Irrevocable Trust:  A trust where the terms and conditions cannot be changed.



Net Worth:    < $300,000     Up to $1,000,000      1 to 5 Million      Over 5 Million

Life's Complexities that can be protected against
- Your beneficiary has an accident and is sued
- Surviving Spouse Remarries into fiscal irresponsibility
- Keeping your wealth in the family should your surviving spouse remarry
- Keeping your wealth in the family upon divorce of a beneficiary
- Surviving spouse needs both money and money management
- Surviving spouse has an accident and is sued

The Process we follow:      New Client               Probate                 Picking a Trustee

Some Helpful Information:     Definitions
                                                Additional Reading
                                                Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

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