Glossary of Estate Planning Terminology

Explore our comprehensive glossary of estate planning terminology. Learn key terms and concepts to navigate the complexities of estate planning effectively.

Glossary of Estate Planning Terminology: A Full Guide


Administration refers to the court-supervised management of a deceased person's estate. This process is crucial when the deceased has left assets that need to be distributed according to the will or state law. It ensures that all financial obligations are met and the estate is settled in a manner that respects the digital legacy of the individual.

Administrator (Estate Administrator)

An Administrator is appointed by the court to manage and settle an estate when there is no will. This role is similar to that of an executor. Still, it comes into play under intestate conditions, ensuring the estate is managed fairly, aligning with legal requirements, and respecting the digital estate planning processes.

Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will)

An Advance Healthcare Directive, also known as a Living Will, is a document that specifies a person's preferences for medical care if they become unable to make decisions themselves. It's a crucial part of estate planning terminology because it protects an individual's healthcare wishes and maintains their dignity in critical situations, contributing to their lasting digital legacy.

Agent (Attorney-in-Fact)

An Agent, or Attorney-in-Fact, is someone legally designated to act on another's behalf, particularly in managing financial or health decisions. This ensures decisions are made according to the principal's wishes if they become incapacitated.

Alternate Beneficiary (Contingent Beneficiary)

An Alternate Beneficiary is someone designated to receive benefits if the primary beneficiary cannot, such as in cases of prior death. This term ensures that assets are distributed without delay or legal complications, safeguarding the estate's intent.

Annual Exclusion

The Annual Exclusion is a tax provision allowing individuals to gift a certain amount to others without tax implications.

Applicable Exemption Amount (Estate Tax Exemption Amount, Unified Credit)

The Applicable Exemption Amount refers to the amount that can be passed on free from federal estate tax.


To Appraise means to assess the value of assets or property, a necessary step in estate planning to ensure accurate distribution of the estate's assets based on current market values, crucial for both tax purposes and fair beneficiary allocation.

Ascertainable Standard

An Ascertainable Standard is a guideline used by trustees to determine when distributions from a trust should be made to beneficiaries, typically based on health, education, maintenance, and support needs. This standard helps in maintaining the integrity and intention behind trust funds, ensuring that distributions align with the settlor's wishes.


Assets include all property owned by an individual, from real estate to personal belongings, and financial accounts. Accurate identification and valuation of assets are foundational in Digital Estate planning, ensuring a smooth transition of the estate to the beneficiaries.


See Agent.

Augmented Estate

The Augmented Estate includes not only the probate estate but also other non-probate transfers. This expanded view is crucial for calculating the correct elective share for a surviving spouse, ensuring that Estate planning reflects all resources available.

Beneficiary (Devisee, Heir, Inheritor, Recipient)

A Beneficiary is an individual or entity designated to receive assets from an estate, trust, or other contractual arrangements. Proper designation of beneficiaries is crucial in Digital Estate planning to ensure that assets are passed to the intended parties without legal complications.

Bequest (Devise)

A Bequest, or Devise, is a gift left to a beneficiary through a will or trust. It’s a fundamental component of Estate planning Terms, allowing individuals to specify exactly how their assets should be distributed among heirs, influencing the legacy they leave behind.

Buy-Sell Agreement

A Buy-Sell Agreement is a legally binding agreement used in business planning, part of Estate planning Terminology, which stipulates how a partner's share of a business is reassigned if they die or choose to leave the business. This agreement ensures business continuity and protects the financial interests of all parties involved.

Bypass Trust (Credit Shelter Trust, Family Trust, B Trust)

A Bypass Trust is designed to reduce estate taxes by allowing one spouse to pass assets to the other while taking full advantage of their federal estate tax exemption. It’s a strategic tool in Estate planning that helps preserve the wealth for future generations, thus securing a Lasting Digital legacy.

Certificate of Trust

A Certificate of Trust exists to confirm the trust's existence and outline the trustee's powers without revealing details about the assets or beneficiaries. This document simplifies financial transactions involving the trust, making it a valuable part of Digital Estate planning.

Charitable Lead Trust

A Charitable Lead Trust allows specified assets to be passed to a charity for a set period, after which the remaining assets revert to the donor or heirs. This trust type is beneficial for those who wish to support charity while also ensuring heirs receive an inheritance, reflecting a lasting digital legacy of generosity.

Charitable Remainder Trust

In a Charitable Remainder Trust, the grantor receives income for a lifetime or a set period, after which the remainder of the trust assets goes to a designated charity. This type of trust is a significant aspect of estate planning terms, allowing for tax-effective philanthropy and support of cherished causes.

Charitable Trust

A Charitable Trust designates certain assets for charity, which can reduce estate and gift taxes while supporting the grantor's philanthropic interests, often forming a part of a comprehensive digital estate planning strategy.

Closing Letter

A Closing Letter from the IRS confirms that an estate's federal tax obligations have been satisfied, an essential step in closing out the estate's financial responsibilities and ensuring all digital estate planning requirements are met.


A Codicil is an amendment to a will, allowing for adjustments without needing to rewrite the entire document. This flexibility is crucial when circumstances change, reflecting an updated Digital legacy without the need for a completely new will.

Common Trust

A Common Trust is established by two or more individuals, often used by couples to manage their assets jointly, simplifying estate management and ensuring their shared vision for asset distribution is achieved, important in digital estate planning.

Community Property

Community Property refers to assets acquired by a couple during their marriage that are owned equally by both partners. Understanding this classification is essential in estate planning, especially in determining how assets are divided upon divorce or death, affecting the distribution of the estate.

Community Property State

A Community Property State is one where assets acquired during marriage are considered jointly owned by both spouses. Recognizing whether a state is a community property state is vital for accurate Estate planning, as it impacts how estates are settled and distributed.


A Conservator is appointed to oversee the financial or personal affairs of an individual deemed incapable of managing their own affairs, crucial in situations where health deteriorates, impacting one's ability to oversee their Digital legacy.


To Contest a will or trust means to legally challenge its validity or provisions, often arising when there is a dispute among potential heirs or beneficiaries. This action can significantly impact the execution of an estate plan, emphasizing the importance of clear and precise Digital Estate planning.

Corporate Trustee

A Corporate Trustee is a bank or trust company appointed to manage trust operations, providing expertise and neutrality in managing assets, crucial for those with complex estates or who prefer not to burden family members with these duties, thereby ensuring the professional handling of their Digital legacy.


The Corpus of a trust refers to the principal amount or the assets that make up the trust. Managing the corpus properly is essential for maintaining the trust's purposes, reflecting the settlor's intentions, and securing a Lasting Digital legacy.


A Creditor is an individual or institution to whom money is owed by the estate. Identifying and settling with creditors is a necessary part of the estate settlement process, ensuring all debts are paid before distribution to beneficiaries as part of comprehensive Estate planning.


A Custodian is responsible for managing assets designated for a minor until they reach adulthood, a role essential for ensuring the assets are preserved and used in the minor's best interest, often outlined in Digital Estate planning strategies.


The term Deceased refers to an individual who has passed away. In the context of Estate planning, this term initiates the process of executing their will or estate plan, transitioning their assets according to their wishes.


A Deed is a legal document that represents the ownership of real property. In Estate planning, transferring property via a deed is a critical process that affects how real estate is handled in an estate, impacting the overall distribution of assets.


To Devise is to leave real estate to a beneficiary through a will. It's a specific term used in Estate planning that highlights the importance of designating who will receive real property upon the testator's death, ensuring the property is transferred according to the testator's wishes.


A Devisee is a beneficiary who is designated to receive real estate from a will. This term is significant in Estate planning, particularly when detailed provisions are made regarding real property, ensuring that specific wishes about property distribution are fulfilled.


To Disclaim is to formally reject a bequest or inheritance. This decision is relevant in Estate planning when a beneficiary chooses not to accept an asset for personal or financial reasons, affecting how the asset is redistributed among other beneficiaries.


Discretion in Estate planning refers to the authority granted to an executor or trustee to make decisions on managing and distributing the estate or trust assets. This can include decisions about asset sales, investments, and distributions to beneficiaries, which are crucial for adapting to changing circumstances and ensuring the estate is managed in the best interests of the beneficiaries.


To Disinherit is to intentionally exclude someone from receiving an inheritance. This action is a significant aspect of Estate planning, used when the estate planner wishes to alter the default inheritance path prescribed by law or previous wills, often reflecting changed personal relationships or other dynamics.


Distribution refers to the act of dispersing assets from an estate or trust to the beneficiaries. Effective Estate planning ensures that distributions are made according to the deceased's wishes, detailed in wills or trust documents, and compliant with all legal requirements.

Digital Death

Digital death refers to the cessation of an individual’s online activities and presence when they die. It raises important questions about the handling of their digital assets, such as social media profiles, emails, and online subscriptions, making it a significant aspect of modern estate planning.

Documenting Journeys

This term often refers to the process of recording life experiences, travels, significant events, or personal milestones through digital means. It involves using various platforms such as blogs, social media, and digital diaries to capture these moments, which are a part of one’s digital legacy.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

A Durable Financial Power of Attorney allows an appointed person to manage the financial affairs of another. It is especially significant in Estate planning for ensuring that financial decisions can continue to be made on behalf of someone unable to do so themselves due to incapacity.

Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney

A Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney appoints someone to make healthcare decisions on behalf of another, which is crucial for Estate planning in ensuring that healthcare preferences are respected when one cannot make decisions themselves.

Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney involves appointing an agent to make decisions about finances or healthcare. It's an essential tool in Estate planning for ensuring that an individual's affairs can be managed without interruption in case of incapacity.

Elective Share (Spousal Share)

The Elective Share, or Spousal Share, is a legal provision that ensures a surviving spouse receives a certain portion of the deceased's estate, overriding the terms of the will if necessary. This is a critical aspect of Estate planning, particularly in protecting the financial interests of the surviving spouse against disinheritance.


An Estate comprises all the assets and liabilities that a person leaves behind at death. Proper management of an estate is central to Estate planning, ensuring that all assets are accounted for, liabilities are paid, and remaining assets are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes.

Estate planning

Estate planning involves preparing tasks that serve to manage an individual's asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death. The planning includes the bequest of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes. Most estate plans are set up with the help of an attorney experienced in estate law.

Estate Tax

Estate Tax is a tax levied on an estate based on its value at the time of the owner's death, if the value exceeds a certain amount. Estate planning is crucial to minimize this tax, ensuring that beneficiaries receive the maximum possible inheritance.

Executor (Personal Representative)

An Executor, or Personal Representative, is responsible for executing the will of the deceased, including distributing assets, paying taxes, and managing estate closure. This role is pivotal in Estate planning, ensuring that the decedent's wishes are carried out accurately.

Exempt Property

Exempt Property refers to assets that cannot be used to pay off debts unless specified in a will. Understanding what constitutes exempt property is important in Estate planning to ensure that certain assets are preserved for beneficiaries rather than being used to settle debts.

Family Trust Company

A Family Trust Company is a private entity that manages the trusts of a single family, handling assets across generations. It plays a significant role in Estate planning by offering a structured way to manage family wealth, providing stability and continuity for future generations.

Federal Estate Tax Exemption Amount

The Federal Estate Tax Exemption Amount is the threshold above which the federal estate tax applies. Estate planning seeks to optimize this exemption to reduce the taxable portion of an estate, thus maximizing what can be passed on to heirs.


A Fiduciary is a person who has been entrusted with the responsibility to manage another person's assets in their best interest, crucial in Estate planning to ensure that all actions taken are for the benefit of the designated beneficiaries.

Financial Guardian

A Financial Guardian is appointed to manage the financial affairs of a minor or incapacitated adult, ensuring their assets are handled appropriately. Their role is integral in Estate planning, especially in cases where the beneficiaries are unable to manage their finances themselves.


Funding refers to the act of transferring assets into a trust or other legal entity as part of an Estate Plan. This is crucial for ensuring that the assets are properly managed and distributed according to the terms of the trust or will.

Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GSTT)

The Generation Skipping Transfer Tax is a tax on assets passed on to grandchildren or non-immediate family members, designed to prevent families from avoiding estate taxes across generations. Estate planning can help minimize GSTT liabilities, ensuring more of the estate is preserved for future generations.


A Gift in the context of Estate planning refers to a voluntary transfer of assets from one person to another without receiving anything in return. Strategically used, gifting can reduce the size of an estate and potentially lower estate tax obligations.

Grantor (Trustmaker, Trustor, Settlor)

A Grantor is the individual who establishes a trust and transfers assets into it. This term is essential in Estate planning, as the grantor determines the terms and conditions of the trust, affecting how the assets are managed and distributed.

Gross Estate

The gross estate is the total value of all assets owned by an individual at the time of death before any deductions are made for debts or taxes. Understanding the gross estate is crucial for Estate planning, particularly for calculating potential estate tax liabilities.

Guardian (Guardian of the Person, Conservator)

A guardian is someone legally appointed to care for another, usually a minor or incapacitated adult, particularly in managing personal affairs such as healthcare and living conditions. Estate planning includes choosing a guardian to ensure that dependents are cared for if the planner is unable to do so.


An Heir is someone entitled to receive a portion of the deceased's estate under the state's intestacy laws if there is no will. Estate planning often focuses on legally designating heirs to ensure assets are distributed according to the owner’s wishes, not just state laws.


An Heir-at-law is someone who would inherit under state law if there is no will. Estate planning aims to address and specify asset distribution to avoid default inheritance laws taking effect, ensuring the decedent’s wishes are honored.

Holographic Will

A Holographic Will is a will that is handwritten and signed by the testator. While not recognized in all states, when valid, it offers a way to make a personal, direct statement of one's wishes regarding their estate.

Homestead Exemption

The Homestead Exemption is a legal provision that protects the value of a home from creditors and, in some cases, against a certain amount of property tax. Estate planning often includes strategies to maximize this exemption, providing significant financial relief to the surviving family.


Incapacity refers to an individual's inability to manage their affairs due to physical or mental limitations. Estate planning includes creating powers of attorney and other directives to ensure that an individual's affairs are managed according to their wishes if they become incapacitated.


In estate planning, Income refers to earnings generated from estate assets, such as rental income, dividends, or interest. Managing and allocating income properly can help fulfill the estate’s financial obligations and provide for

Independent Administration

Independent Administration is a streamlined form of probate available in some states that allows the executor to manage and settle the estate with minimal court supervision, simplifying the probate process.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax is a tax on the value of a decedent's property paid by the individual who inherits the property, as opposed to estate tax, which is deducted from the estate itself before distribution. Understanding this tax is crucial for effective Estate planning, particularly in minimizing the tax burden on beneficiaries.

Insurance Policy

An insurance policy is a contract between an insurance company and the policyholder, which specifies the terms under which the insurance company is legally required to pay a benefit to the policyholder or their beneficiaries. Insurance policies can cover various risks, such as life, health, auto, and home, providing financial security against unexpected events.

Insurance Trust

An insurance trust holds life insurance policies to exclude them from the taxable estate, thereby reducing potential estate taxes. This type of trust is beneficial in Estate planning for those with substantial insurance policies looking to maximize the financial benefit to their heirs.

Inter vivos

An Inter vivos trust, also known as a living trust, is created during the grantor's lifetime. Estate planning uses these trusts to manage assets before death, providing for the grantor's needs while facilitating a smooth transition to beneficiaries without the need for probate.

Interest of a Beneficiary

The Interest of a Beneficiary refers to their right to receive benefits from a trust or estate, which may include income, principal, or both, depending on the terms of the estate plan or trust agreement.


Intestacy occurs when someone dies without a will, causing their assets to be distributed according to state laws. Estate planning seeks to avoid intestacy to ensure that assets are distributed according to the deceased’s personal wishes rather than impersonal state guidelines.

Irrevocable Trust

An Irrevocable Trust cannot be amended or terminated without the permission of its beneficiaries. This type of trust is beneficial for Estate planning because it removes the assets from the grantor’s taxable estate, potentially reducing estate taxes significantly.


In legal terms, Issue refers to a person's direct descendants, including children and grandchildren. In Estate planning, defining issue is important for determining who will inherit assets, especially in per stirpes distribution scenarios.

Joint Ownership

Joint ownership involves owning property simultaneously with one or more parties. The rights of the surviving owners to the property upon one owner’s death can significantly influence estate planning, particularly in how assets are distributed and whether they are subject to probate.

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

In joint tenancy with right of survivorship, co-owners hold equal shares of a property with the stipulation that upon the death of one owner, the deceased’s share automatically transfers to the surviving co-owners. This arrangement is frequently used in Estate planning to ensure smooth transfer of property and avoid probate.

Life Beneficiary

A life beneficiary is entitled to receive benefits from a trust or other legal mechanism for their lifetime. Estate planning often includes setting up life beneficiary arrangements to provide ongoing financial support to a spouse, child, or other individual.

Living Trust

A Living Trust is created during the grantor's lifetime and is an effective tool in Estate planning for managing assets prior to death and distributing them after death without the need for probate.

Marital Deduction

The Marital Deduction is a provision in U.S. tax law that allows an individual to transfer an unlimited amount of assets to their spouse at any time, including at death, without incurring a tax liability. Estate planning often utilizes this deduction to reduce the taxable estate, maximizing the assets passed to the surviving spouse.


A Minor in legal terms is a person under the age of majority, typically 18 years in most jurisdictions. Estate planning for minors typically involves appointing guardians or setting up trusts to manage assets until the minor reaches adulthood.

Net Estate

The net estate is the value of the estate that is subject to inheritance tax after deductions, such as debts and funeral expenses, have been subtracted. It’s crucial in Estate planning to understand this figure to accurately plan for potential taxes and ensure sufficient liquidity to cover these expenses.

No-contest Clause

A No-contest clause in a will or trust attempts to discourage legal challenges by stipulating that anyone who contests the document will be disinherited. This can be a powerful tool in Estate planning to prevent disputes and ensure the decedent’s wishes are carried out as intended.

Nuncupative Will

A nuncupative will is an oral will that others must witness; it is only legally valid in certain jurisdictions and under specific conditions. Such wills are typically used in urgent circumstances where a written will cannot be drafted, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive Estate planning to avoid reliance on this less secure option.

Payable on Death (Transfer on Death, Totten Trust)

Payable-on-death accounts allow the account holder to designate beneficiaries who will receive the assets in the account upon the holder's death, bypassing probate. This is a simple yet effective estate planning tool to ensure that assets are quickly and directly transferred to beneficiaries.

Per Capita with Representation (Modern Per Stirpes)

This distribution method modifies the traditional Per Stirpes approach by allocating the estate equally among the nearest generation in which there are living heirs. It is a pivotal concept in Estate planning as it ensures that descendants of a deceased heir do not miss out on their share of an inheritance, thereby preserving the Digital legacy of fairness and thoughtful planning.

Per Stirpes

Per Stirpes distribution means that an estate is divided equally among the branches of the family. If a beneficiary predeceases the decedent, that beneficiary's share is divided equally among his or her own descendants. This approach in Estate planning safeguards the intentions of the will-maker by extending the legacy to the next generation, effectively managing the Digital Death transitions.

Personal Property

Personal Property in estate planning includes items like cars, jewelry, and stocks, which are distinct from real property or real estate. Accurate documentation and valuation of personal property are critical for detailed Estate planning, ensuring a smooth transfer of these assets, thereby respecting the owner's Digital legacy.

Pour-Over Will

A Pour-Over Will is used to transfer any remaining assets directly into a trust at the death of the will's author. This is an essential document in Digital Estate planning as it helps avoid probate for these assets, seamlessly integrating them into a pre-existing trust, thus safeguarding the Digital legacy of the individual.

Principal (Corpus)

The Principal or Corpus of a trust refers to the assets that make up the trust fund, which are managed for the benefit of the trust's beneficiaries. Managing these assets properly is crucial for maintaining the trust’s purposes and ensuring that it functions as an effective component of Estate planning, securing a Lasting Digital legacy.

Private Trust Company (Family Trust Company)

A Private Trust Company serves as the trustee for a family's private trusts, managing assets and making distributions according to the trusts' terms. It plays a crucial role in Digital Estate planning by providing personalized, professional management of the family’s financial affairs, enhancing both privacy and efficiency.


Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person's will is validated, and their estate is settled under court supervision. It involves organizing the individual's assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining estate to the rightful heirs. Effective Estate planning can simplify or sometimes bypass the probate process, a significant aspect of managing one's Digital Estate.

Probate Estate

The probate estate includes all the assets that a deceased person owned that require probate to transfer legal title of the property to the beneficiaries. Proper Estate planning can help minimize the assets going through probate, facilitating a smoother and potentially quicker transfer of assets, and ensuring the deceased’s Digital legacy is honored without extensive legal proceedings.

Probate Fees

Probate fees are costs associated with processing an estate through probate. These can include court fees, legal fees, and executor fees. Minimizing these fees through effective Estate planning can preserve more of the estate for the beneficiaries, reflecting careful management of the estate's Digital legacy.

Real Property (Real Estate Property)

Real Property involves land and any permanent structures on it. In Estate planning, detailed planning for real property is crucial to ensure that it is passed to the intended beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient manner, thereby preserving the estate's value for future generations and maintaining the Digital legacy of the property owner.

Residuary Estate, Residual Estate, Residue

The residuary estate includes all assets left after specific bequests have been made and debts, taxes, and expenses have been paid. Managing the residuary estate is a critical aspect of Estate planning, ensuring that all remaining assets are distributed according to the wishes of the deceased, solidifying their Digital legacy.

Revocable Trust

A revocable trust is a trust where the terms can be changed or canceled dependent on the grantor. During the life of the trust, income earned is distributed to the grantor, and only after death does property transfer to the beneficiaries. This flexibility makes revocable trusts a valuable tool in Digital Estate planning, allowing adjustments as circumstances change, thereby supporting a Lasting Digital legacy.

Separate Property

Separate property includes assets acquired before marriage or individually during marriage, such as through a gift or inheritance. In Estate planning, it is important to clearly define and handle separate property to ensure it is distributed according to the owner’s wishes, rather than being subject to division under marital property laws, thus protecting the individual’s Digital legacy.

Separate Property State

A Separate property state is one where each spouse's income and assets acquired during marriage are considered their own, as opposed to Community Property States where assets are owned jointly. Recognizing these distinctions is crucial in Estate planning to ensure assets are distributed according to state law and personal wishes.

Separate Trust

A separate trust is established by one individual, distinct from joint trusts that married couples might set up. Such trusts are often used in Estate planning to manage and protect individual assets, tailor estate plans to personal needs, and secure a Digital legacy independent of any joint arrangements.

Settle an Estate

To settle an estate involves completing all necessary legal and financial processes to finalize an individual's estate after death. This includes paying off debts, distributing assets, and ensuring all paperwork is complete. Effective Estate planning facilitates this process, ensuring that the estate is settled smoothly and in accordance with the deceased's wishes, thus respecting their Digital legacy.

Spendthrift Provision

A Spendthrift Provision in a trust restricts a beneficiary's ability to pledge or assign their interest in the trust assets, protecting the assets from creditors. This provision is a critical component of Digital Estate planning, ensuring that trust assets are used as intended by the grantor and preserved for the beneficiary's use.

Spousal Share (Elective Share)

The spousal share, or elective share, is a legal mechanism that allows a surviving spouse to claim a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate, overriding the terms of the will. This share is crucial in Estate planning to ensure that the surviving spouse receives adequate financial support, particularly in jurisdictions without Community Property laws.

Successor Trustee

A successor trustee is a person or institution named to take over trust management if the original trustee dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to continue managing the trust. This role is essential in Estate planning for maintaining continuity and ensuring the trust operates as intended without interruption.

Surviving Spouse

A surviving spouse is the spouse who lives longer than the other. In Estate planning, provisions for the surviving spouse are critical for ensuring they receive adequate support and inheritance, facilitating a smooth transition of assets and upholding the couple’s Digital legacy.

Takers of Last Resort

Takers of last resort are individuals or entities designated to receive assets if no named beneficiaries survive the decedent. Including such provisions in Estate planning is a safeguard to ensure that assets do not become ownerless, even under unforeseen circumstances, thereby protecting the Digital legacy of the estate planner.

Tenancy by the Entirety

Tenancy by the entirety is a form of joint ownership available only to married couples where each owns the entire property. In the event of one spouse’s death, the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse without the need for probate. This arrangement is favored in Estate planning for its simplicity and for providing security to the surviving spouse, maintaining the couple’s Digital legacy.

Tenancy in Common

In Tenancy in Common, two or more people hold ownership interests in a property. Unlike Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship, these interests do not automatically pass to the co-owners upon one owner’s death; instead, they can be bequeathed under the terms of a will. This arrangement allows for greater flexibility in Estate planning, accommodating diverse and individualized beneficiary arrangements.


Testamentary refers to aspects of an estate plan that come into effect after the death of the individual, such as provisions in a will or Testamentary Trusts. Effective Estate planning ensures that testamentary instructions clearly articulate the decedent’s wishes, facilitating their fulfillment and preserving the Digital legacy.

Testamentary Trust

A Testamentary trust is established by a will to provide a mechanism for managing the decedent's assets after their death. It is an essential component of Estate planning, particularly for those who wish to place conditions on asset distribution or delay immediate distribution to a beneficiary.


A Testator is the person who makes a will. Their role is central to Estate planning, as they determine how their assets will be distributed after their death, directly impacting the execution of their intended Digital legacy.


Title represents legal ownership of property, and in estate planning, ensuring the clear title is essential for the smooth transfer of assets to heirs or beneficiaries. Managing titles effectively prevents potential disputes and legal complications, safeguarding the Digital legacy.

Transfer on Death

Transfer-on-death designations allow assets within certain accounts to bypass the probate process by automatically transferring to a named beneficiary upon the owner's death. This feature is an important aspect of Estate planning, facilitating quicker access to assets for beneficiaries and streamlining the estate settlement process.

Transfer Tax

Transfer Tax is imposed on the transfer of asset ownership through inheritance, and understanding its impact is vital for effective Estate planning. Strategies to minimize transfer tax liabilities are essential for maximizing the value of the estate passed on to heirs, preserving the economic aspect of the Digital legacy.


A Trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts are widely used in Estate planning to provide control over the distribution of assets, ensuring assets are managed and disbursed according to the grantor's specific desires, thereby protecting and perpetuating the Digital legacy.

Trust Company

A Trust Company is an institution that acts as a trustee in managing trusts, providing services such as asset management, estate planning, and legacy planning. Utilizing a trust company can be part of a strategic Estate Plan to ensure professional management and preservation of assets.


A Trustee manages the trust's assets under the terms of the trust document. Their role is crucial in Estate planning as they ensure that the trust operates according to the grantor's intentions, maintaining the trust's purpose and safeguarding the Digital legacy of the individual.


An Unfunded Trust is a trust that has its terms set up but has not yet had assets transferred into it. In Estate planning, funding the trust is a critical step to ensure it can function as intended to manage and distribute the assets, fulfilling the grantor's Estate planning goals.

Unified Credit

Unified Credit allows a person to gift a certain amount during their lifetime without incurring gift tax. In Estate planning, it is used to reduce the taxable estate, potentially lowering estate taxes upon death.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

The uniform transfers to minors Act allows minors to receive gifts without the need for a legal guardian or trust to manage the gift. In estate planning, UTMA accounts are used to transfer wealth to minors in a tax-efficient manner, often as part of a strategy to reduce the taxable estate.


A ward is a minor or incapacitated adult placed under the protection of a guardian. In Estate planning, appointing a guardian to care for a ward is crucial to ensure that the ward's financial, health, and personal needs are appropriately managed in the absence of their ability to do so themselves.


A will is a legal document through which a person, the testator, expresses their wishes as to how their property is to be distributed at death and names one or more persons, the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution. Wills are a fundamental component of Estate planning, ensuring that an individual's wishes are clearly stated and legally recognized, securing their Digital legacy.

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