Glossary of Terms
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A sum of money payable yearly or at other regular intervals.
Property, such as real estate or stock, that has increased in value.
A gift or legacy left by will, typically personal property or assets.
A trust having a charitable organization as a beneficiary.
A legal instrument made to modify an earlier will.
An institution that acts for the benefit of another. One example is a bank acting as trustee.
The original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation.
A tax imposed at one’s death on the transfer of most types of property. Currently federal estate taxes are reinstated for deaths that occur in 2011 and 2012 on estates worth more than $5 million The maximum estate tax rate is 35 percent.
Executor (or Personal Representative)
The person named in a will to manage the estate. This person will collect the property, pay any debt and distribute your property or assets according to the will.
Gift-Tax Annual Exclusion
The provision in the tax law that exempts the first $13,000 in 2011 (as adjusted for inflation) in present-interest gifts a person gives to each recipient during a year from federal gift taxes.
The person who transfers assets into a trust for the benefit of him/herself or others.
The total property or assets held by an individual as defined for federal estate tax purposes.
An individual legally appointed to manage the rights and/or property of a person incapable of taking care of his or her own affairs.
Any right or ownership in property.
The term applied when an individual dies without a will.
Living Trust (Revocable)
A revocable trust established by a grantor during his or her lifetime in which the grantor transfers some or all of his or her property into the trust.
A legal document directing that the maker’s or signer’s life is not to be artificially supported in the event of a terminal illness or accident.
Powers of Appointment
A right given to another in a written instrument, such as a will or trust, that allows the other to decide how to distribute the property. The power of appointment is “general” if it places no restrictions on whom the distributees may be. A power is “limited” or “special” if it limits who the eventual distributees can be.
The court process for determining the validity of a deceased person’s will.
Special Needs Trust
A specific type of trust designed to provide benefits for physically or mentally disabled persons without jeopardizing such person’s access to and qualification for certain governmental benefits.
An individual who dies leaving a will or testament in force.
A written legal instrument created by a grantor for the benefit of him/herself (during life) or others (during life or at death).
The individual or institution entrusted with the duty of managing property placed in the trust. A “co-trustee” serves as trustee with another. A “contingent trustee” becomes trustee upon the occurrence of a specified future event.
A federal tax credit that offsets gift tax and estate tax liability. The amount of the credit for deaths occuring in 2011 is $1,730,800 which is equivalent to a Basic Exclusion Amount of $5 million.