Administration: The process by which the executor (personal representative) collects the decedent’s assets, pays all debts, claims, and taxes owed, then distributes the remainder of the estate according to beneficiaries noted in the will or, if there is no will, according to the state intestacy law.
Administrator: The individual or corporate fiduciary appointed by the court to manage an estate if no executor or personal representative has been appointed or if the named executor or personal representative is unable or unwilling to serve.
Advance directive (Living Will): A written instruction stating the types of care an individual wishes to have at the end of her/his life if he or she is no longer able to communicate. The advance directive is intended to guide medical professionals concerning which measures a terminally ill patient wants, or does not want, administered to preserve life.
Asset(s): Property, including real property (real estate: land or buildings) and personal property (e.g. cash, stocks, jewelry or vehicles) that belong to a person, corporation, estate, or other entity. Assets also include resources that have economic value to their owner, such as accounts receivable, inventory, and securities.
Beneficiary: A person named to receive the benefit of property from an estate or trust through the right to receive a bequest or to receive income or trust principal over a period of time.
Codicil: A formally executed document that amends the terms of a will so that a complete rewriting of the will is not necessary.
Decedent: An individual who has died.
Deed: A deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest in or a right to property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions, sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring title to property.
Descendants: An individual’s children, grandchildren, and more remotely related persons who are related by blood or legal adoption. An individual’s spouse, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, or sisters are not included. The term “descendants” and “issue” have the same meaning.
Durable power of attorney: A power of attorney that does not terminate upon the incapacity of the person giving the power of attorney.