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A person legally vested with the right to administer an estate where the deceased person had no will.

Agent or Attorney-in-fact

A person granted authority to act for the principal in a power of attorney document for either financial or health care issue


A person's ability to understand the nature and consequences of a decision, to make and communicate a decision, and to understand significant benefits, risks, and alternatives.

Certification of Trust

A written document, signed by all of the then acting trustees before a notary, which may be presented in lieu of a trust document itself to establish the existence or terms of a trust.


Court appointed fiduciary over property belonging to a person determined by a court to be unable to properly manage his/her property.

Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney that remains valid in the event of the principal's incapacity.


The assets and liabilities left by a person at death.


A person appointed by a court to carry out the deceased person's will.

General Power of Attorney

A power of attorney to handle the property or estate of the principal. This power terminates upon revocation by the principal or upon incapacity or death of the principal.


One who legally has care and management of the person or estate, or both, of a minor.

(Advance) Health Care Directive

An individual's health care instruction or a power of attorney for health care.

Irrevocable Trust

A trust that cannot be changed or amended.

Letters of Administration

Letters issued by a court appointing a personal representative to settle an estate when there is no will or when no personal representative is named in a will.

Letters Testamentary

Letters issued by a court appointing a personal representative to settle an estate.

Pay on Death

Written instructions to a financial institution that a designated account is payable to the owner or owners during their lifetimes, and upon the death of the last account owner, is payable to the named beneficiary(ies).

Power of Attorney Document

A written instrument that is executed by a person having the capacity to contract and that grants authority to an attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney may be durable or non-durable.


A person who executes a power of attorney document.

Revocable Trust

A trust that can be changed or amended at any time by the settlor/grantor/trustor.

Springing Power of Attorney

A power of attorney that by its terms becomes effective at a specified future time or on the occurrence of a specified future event or contingency, including, but not limited to the subsequent incapacity of the principal. A springing power of attorney may be durable or non-durable.

Successor Trustee

One who succeeds a trustee of a trust.


An arrangement by which a trustee controls real and/or personal property for trust beneficiaries.


One who holds legal title to property held "in trust".


One who creates a trust by transferring real and/or personal property "in trust" to another (trustee) for the benefit of a third person (the beneficiary).


A person's written declaration of how he/she desires his/her property to be distributed after his/her death.

Note:The planning tips and guidelines on these pages are not intended as legal advice, nor to be construed as legal advice. For any legal or tax issues related to your personal situation, you should consult a qualified legal professional or tax advisor.


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