What estate planning definitions are helpful to know?

As you probably know, it is important to have a will or trust in order for your loved ones after you pass. Estate planning may help your heirs avoid confusion or conflict later on. However, it is not unusual for Detroit residents to need clarification on some of the common estate planning terms.

Fortunately, the American Bar Association has an online glossary of the estate administration terms and phrases you are likely to hear. The following is a partial list of those you may come across when discussing your estate with an attorney:

Beneficiaries. Also known as heirs, your beneficiaries are the loved ones to whom you leave your property. They may be your family members, but can also include friends or others you deem worthy of receiving any of your assets.

  1. The executor of your will should be a trusted person to carry out the terms you designated and distribute the assets.
  2. Probate is the legal process of distributing your assets upon your death. The probate process may go smoothly if you have a clear will or trust. However, having no will or a disagreement rising among your heirs may complicate the probate process.
  3. A trust is an aspect of estate planning that designates specific ways you wish for your estate to be distributed, such as managing funds for minor children or disabled dependent adults.
  4. This common document details your wishes regarding your assets and property, and how you wish it to be divided among the beneficiaries.

This is only a partial list of common estate planning terminology. You should keep in mind that this information is meant to be informative in nature, but should not replace the advice of an attorney.