Last week, we went over some basic differences between the trust administration and probate processes. This week, we need to go over some terms so that you and your loved ones can understand your legal options for dealing with a deceased family member’s estate.
First up is intestacy. This refers to the state of dying without a will. In some documents you might read that someone has “died intestate”, which means someone died without a will. Intestacy complicates the process of dividing up the estate. Discuss now how you want your affairs to be settled so you don’t have to deal with probate.
The person who has died is the decedent. A person who inherits property after another person’s death, in accordance with state laws and the will (if any) is an heir. A beneficiary is a person who gets advantage from a will, trust, or life insurance policy.
Different Terms Are Used for the Person that Administers Probate or a Trust
Finally, there are the different ways of naming the person who oversees the estate upon the person’s death. An executor is the person named in a will to oversee the estate. An administrator is the person appointed by the court to oversee the estate when a person dies intestate or fails to name an executor. For trust administration, a trustee is named. This person has power of administration over property in trust, but only to administer in accordance with the deceased person’s wishes.
If you or a loved one needs legal help with estate planning, please call our office! We would be honored to help you make these delicate decisions.