ESTATE PLANNING TERMS
I understand how confusing estate planning or estate administration can seem. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with the terminology. That is why, below, I have compiled a list of terms you are likely to hear as you begin to think about your estate plan.
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
A Last Will & Testament allows the Probate Court to know to whom you want your probate assets to pass to upon your death. A will does not negate the probate process; however, it does make it easier for your executor and beneficiaries to go through of the process of administering your estate after your death.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
There are several different powers of attorney. Each one has a specific purpose. For instance, a durable power of attorney for health care allows a person that you choose to make decisions pertaining to your medical treatment in the event that you cannot make those decisions yourself. A financial or basic power of attorney allows the person that you have chosen the ability to conduct business on your behalf.
Should you have an illness or accident which causes a permanently unconscious state, a living will is a directive which allows you to state your wishes on your continued treatment as well as the use or non-use of artificial life-sustaining support.
SURVIVORSHIP DEEDS & TRANSFER ON DEATH DESIGNATION AFFIDAVIT
These two terms refer to how the real property of an individual or individuals is titled and how it is transferred after your death. With a survivorship deed, you and another individual co-own the real property. This is very common with a husband and wife when they own a house. On the death of either party, the real estate transfers by way of affidavit to the surviving party. Both parties are co-owners of the real estate during their lifetime. By comparison, a transfer on death designation affidavit sets forth who you want the real estate to pass to upon your death. During the property owner’s lifetime, they can sell or mortgage the property without any involvement from the beneficiaries.