Estate Planning Terms

Our Maryland estate planning attorney compiled this list of some of the most frequently used estate planning terms. If you would like to set up a free consultation with our Maryland estate planning lawyer, please call us now.
Advance Healthcare Directive – Document used by a person (called the Declarant) to provide an individual (called an Agent) with the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for the Declarant and to specify the Declarant’s wishes in terms of artificial feeding and hydration and other treatment while the Declarant is incapacitated.

Beneficiary – The person who receives property distributions from a Trust or a Will.

Bequeath/Bequest — To leave property to person through a Will or Trust.

Codicil — An addition or amendment to a Will by the Testator that has already been executed.

Decedent — A deceased person.

Durable Power of Attorney – Document used by a person (called the Principal) to provide an individual (called an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact) with the legal authority to handle the finances (buy or sell assets, sign in the name of, close or open accounts, collect and open mail, etc.) of the Principal from the time of signing the document or from the time the Principal becomes incapacitated. The authority under this document ends at the death of the Principal.

Executor — See Personal Representative.

Intestate – Dying without a Will.

Irrevocable Trust — A Trust that cannot be revoked in which the Settlor relinquishes control of assets.

Last Will and Testament – The legal document in which you decide the beneficiaries of your assets, the Executor or Personal Representative of your probate estate, the guardian of your children, and your burial and/or funeral wishes.

Legatee — A person to whom property is bequeathed through a Will.

Letters of Administration — The legal authority given by the Orphan’s Court through the Register of Wills office empowering a person to be the Personal Representative/Executor of the decedent’s estate.

Personal Representative — The agent appointed in a Will to administer the Will and distribute assets pursuant to the Will through probate.

Restatement — A revision of the terms of a Trust while keeping the name and date of the original Trust in order to avoid retitling of assets.

Revocable Living Trust – (“RLT”) is a separate entity created for holding title to property for the benefit of a beneficiary. The property owner is the Settlor, who creates and can amend the trust. The original Trustee manages and distributes the property held in trust. The beneficiary is the person or group of people who benefit from distributions from the trust.

Settlor – The person or persons who create a Trust.

Testamentary Trust — Trust provisions contained within a Will.

Testate — Dying with a Will in place.

Testator — A male person who creates a Will.

Testatrix — A female person who creates a Will.