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Estate Planning Terms for Families
Losing a loved one is a challenging experience under any circumstances. Sadly, this painful time can be compounded if the deceased person hadn't adequately planned the distribution of his or her assets. The law surrounding this process, probate law, uses very specific language that may be confusing to regular people. Below are some commonly used terms families may hear lawyers use during the probate process.
Administrator - Distributes and/or cares for the assets of a person who dies without a legal will. The administrator is usually an attorney or law firm. He does everything from arranging care for children, to liquidating bank accounts. There is a significant difference between executors and administrators, though the terms are sometimes misused by the general public.
Estate - Every single asset owned by the deceased person. This term includes, but is not limited to, property, businesses and household items.
Executor - A person named in an estate plan by the deceased to oversee the execution of their will. The executor is usually an attorney, law firm or trusted friend.
Intestate - When a person dies without a will, their estate is considered intestate. Intestate estates are handled by administrators rather
Probate - Refers to the legal process of validating a will and formally appointing the executor named in the will.
Testate - A person who has died with a valid will. Testate estates are overseen by executors rather than court appointed administrators.
Trust - Assets or property that are owned by a lawyer or person for another party until the estate is settled.
Will - A legal document describing how a person's assets should be distributed after they die. Wills are not considered legal until approved by a probate court.
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Civil litigation lawyers focus their law practice in the areas of business law, real estate law, and trusts and estates. With a reputation for delivering the highest level of advice, counsel and representation.
Estate planning attorneys work with various law firms around the country. These particular lawyers assist with handling estates or large properties and trusts for people. Many individuals acquire the representation of estate planning attorneys in order to have someone take care of their assets, land, and wills after they pass on. This way when the estate owner or property title holder dies, the lawyer can handle asset distribution, whether it be to family members and/or some charitable cause.
It is common for elderly estate owners to have attorneys handle their businesses, taxes, trusts and assets after they pass on. This way the law professional can handle the living probate or official proving of the will, and deal with social security funds, property distribution, liabilities, and any financial aspects of an estate for the owner or client. If an estate owner is in compliance with the legal representation, the planning attorney can use his/her legal powers to provide protection for the estate and assets left behind. This is often done when someone has a disability or can no longer act on his or her own behalf. Law firms offer services like this, regardless of where you live in the United States. However, it is important to understand any liabilities, asset protection, and financial issues when hiring an estate planning lawyer.
If you would care to learn more about estate planning attorneys, you should get in touch with local law firms for all of the answers to your questions. Make sure to ask specific questions that pertain to your individual needs.