Essential Estate Planning Terms & Definitions: What You Need to Know to Get Started

When preparing for probate or the estate planning process, understanding some of the fundamental terms can be a good place to get started, as it can start orienting you to the key players, relationships and issues that are typically involved.

Below, we have provided a basic yet essential guide to estate planning terms, along with clear definitions of each.

When you are ready to delve into the process and find out more about your best options for putting a comprehensive estate plan in place, however, contact the seasoned Pueblo estate attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth.

Estate Planning Vocab

  • Agent – Also referred to as the “attorney-in-fact,” this is the person granted a power of attorney on behalf of another individual becoming incapacitated.
  • Beneficiary – A person named in a will or estate plan as receiving some asset upon the death of another individual.
  • Codicil – A formal document that amends or changes a will without requiring the will to be entirely redrafted.
  • Decedent – A person who has passed away.
  • Executor – Also referred to as a personal representative, a person designated by the will and/or appointed by the court to administer the will and settle the estate of a decedent.
  • Grantor – The person who develops a trust.
  • Fiduciary – A position in which an individual or company manages some asset or funds on behalf of at least one beneficiary while having to fulfill certain standards of care known as “fiduciary duties.” Fiduciaries’ duties include (but are not limited to) acting without bias, putting the interests of beneficiaries/an estate first and making prudent investments on behalf of beneficiaries/estates.
  • Intestacy – The state of dying without a legal/valid will in place. Intestacy laws in Colorado dictate how property is to be passed down to surviving loved ones when someone dies intestate (i.e., without a will).
  • Irrevocable trust – A trust that, once formed, cannot be changed.
  • Joint tenancy – Possession of property in which at least two parties share ownership rights over that property. Property held in joint tenancy may not have to be probated upon death.
  • Powers of attorney – A relationship in which one individual designates another individual (or entity) to make certain financial and/or medical decisions on his behalf upon incapacitation or some other life-changing event.
  • Revocable trust – A trust that can be changed by a grantor at any point during the grantor’s lifetime as long as that individual is capable and considered to be of sound mind.

Contact the Trinidad and Pueblo Estate Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth

To get started developing an estate plan, contact the Trinidad and Pueblo estate attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth. Since 1972, our lawyers have been dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system and favorably resolving their important legal issues.

To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *