Have you ever sat and tried to read through an estate planning document such as a will or a trust? Odds are that you will feel confused by what you’re reading after just a few lines. However, every state requires that there is certain verbiage within these important documents for them to be legally binding. To ensure that your documents are legally sound, you should always partner with an estate planning attorney who can help to guide you through the process of developing an estate plan that you will understand.
There are certain terms that you will hear quite frequently throughout this process. Therefore, it’s important that you become familiar with them to help yourself feel more comfortable and confident with the decisions that you’re making as part of your estate plan.
The Legalese Associated with Estate Planning
Unfortunately, there are countless people who make the mistake of thinking that they can take on the process of developing and executing their own estate plan without the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney. The reality is, though, that each document that is part of your estate plan has its own unique set of legalese which can be confusing or overwhelming. If you don’t have an in-depth understanding of the true meaning of this legalese, you may find yourself in a position where you create an estate plan using generic document, which may not adequately address your unique circumstances and goals.
Key Terms to Be Aware of During the Estate Planning Process
While it’s true that there are several terms that you should know as part of the estate planning process, there are many of them that bear more weight in the overall scheme of your estate plan such as:
The executor is the individual who will administer your estate after you pass away. This person will have an abundance of responsibilities which is why it’s essential that you choose carefully when it comes to the person that you select.
- Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is someone who can act on your behalf in either a medical or financial capacity. This person also has a tremendous amount of responsibility in the sense that they will be able to make important decisions for you once a power of attorney document is signed.
If you develop a trust document or if you develop a testamentary trust within your Last Will & Testament, then you will likely hear the word trustee come up quite often. The trustee of a trust is the individual who oversees the various terms of the trust. Depending on the type of trust you create, this responsibility is something that may take place during your lifetime, or it may be something that happens after you pass away.
In the same way that you may hear the term “trustee”, you will also hear the word Grantor. The Grantor of a trust is the person who is funding the trust (i.e. you, if you are setting up a trust). (Just to be clear, “funding” a trust is the process referred to when you put your assets into your trust.) Therefore, each time you see the word Grantor, it’s important that you are aware of the various responsibilities that come along with this title.
Let Us Assist You in Navigating the Estate Planning Process
If you are in a position where you feel overwhelmed by putting together an estate plan on your own, our team of estate planning experts are here to help you. We understand that every estate plan needs to be individualized and unique to your situation, which is why we always take the time to explain your options to you. When you’re ready to begin your estate plan, be sure to get in touch with us and learn more about the choices that you have. We are here and ready to help! Call Roth Elder Law, PLLC at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.