What are some common estate planning terms?

When creating or updating your estate plan, the many terms and phrases surrounding estate administration and planning may be difficult to understand. There are some definitions, such as wills, that you see often and may know a bit about. However, it can be easy to misinterpret some estate planning terms or mistakenly use them interchangeably.

How do you tell the difference between common Oklahoma estate planning terms?

The following are some of the most common terms you may hear when speaking with your estate planning lawyer, as well as their definitions, according to the American Bar Association.

  • Beneficiary – This is a person who is named to receive assets or property from an estate, either in a will or trust. The beneficiary may be a family member or someone else you wish to include.
  • Conservator vs. Executor – A conservator manages an incapacitated person’s property. An executor is the one designated in a will to administer the property in the estate and carry out the other terms outlined in the document.
  • Decedent – The decedent is a deceased person.
  • Grantor – This is someone who creates a trust or contributes property or funds toward one.
  • Probate – The court process proving a will’s validity or enacting a state’s intestacy law if there is no will, then distributing the estate’s property, is known as probate.
  • Trusts vs. Wills – A trust is an agreement meant to manage or distribute property for a beneficiary’s benefit, and can include specific terms to carry out. A will is a document that designates the beneficiaries to inherit your estate, usually upon your death, and names a representative to carry out your wishes.

There are many other terms and definitions that can be helpful to know, which an estate planning attorney can describe for you. This information is meant to give you a general understanding of estate planning basics, but should not be taken as legal advice.

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