On August 19, 2015

Estate planning and probate can be involved processes. For those who are just getting started with either of them, knowing some fundamental terms can be a good place to start, as it can begin to familiarize people with the key terms they will likely be hearing and needing to understand as they move forward.

To this end, below is a helpful glossary to reference as you prepare to start the estate planning or probate process. When you need experienced help with an estate plan or probate, however, contact a seasoned Denver estate & probate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

Clear Definitions of Fundamental Estate Planning & Probate Terms

  • Understanding the definitions of these fundamental estate planning terms can help you as you get started with estate planning or probate, a Denver estate & probate attorney explains.

    Understanding the definitions of these fundamental estate planning terms can help you as you get started with estate planning or probate, a Denver estate & probate attorney explains.

    Administrator – The court-appointed person or fiduciary who oversees the estate administration process if there is no executor or personal representative for an estate (because none has been named in a will or none of the designated parties wishes to serve in this position)

  • Attorney-in-fact – The person who holds a power of attorney to make financial and/or medical decisions on behalf of someone else; may also be referred to as an “agent”
  • Beneficiary – A person who has been named in a will (or other estate planning document) to inherit some asset
  • Conservator – A court-appointed person who oversees the finances (or other matters) of an incapacitated person
  • Fiduciary – A person or company who is designated to manage certain assets or funds on behalf of beneficiaries and who bears certain legal responsibilities (and personal liability) in doing so. In estate planning, fiduciaries include (but are not limited to) executors, personal representatives and attorneys.
  • Grantor – A person who establishes and/or contributes to a trust; may also be referred to as a settlor, a trustor or a donor
  • Intestate – The situation in which someone passes away without leaving behind a valid will. In these cases, the decedent’s estate will be passed to the heirs via the state’s intestacy laws.
  • Joint tenancy – The state of co-owning property or some asset with two or more people. Generally, this arrangement comes with rights of survivorship, meaning that property in joint tenancy typically does not have to pass through probate.
  • No contest clause – A provision of a will that stipulates that anyone who attempts to contest or challenge the will forfeits his or her inheritance rights

  • Power of attorney – A designation that grants an individual the legal authority to make certain decisions on behalf of someone who is incapacitated/not able to make these decisions for him- or herself. Powers of attorney can be financial or medical in nature.

These, of course, are by no means all of the terms fundamental to estate planning and probate. If you need more answers about either of these processes, contact JR Phillips today.

Contact a Denver Estate & Probate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to develop, revise or administer an estate plan – or when you need the best representation in probate, you can turn to the Denver estate & probate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

To discuss your options during an initial consultation, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning