Legal names for the people in your will

When you are preparing to draft your last will and testament in Michigan, your primary concerns probably revolve around what you leave behind, and to whom. However, once you get into the legal process, you may discover a number of terms that are not in straightforward, everyday language. We at the Bingham Legal Group PC are careful to explain the meanings of the legal definitions to decode and simplify the process of planning your estate.

The American Bar Association explains that after your death, you become the decedent. You may also be referred to as the testator of your will because you are the person who signs it. It may seem counterintuitive, but your heirs are not necessarily the people you name in your will. Instead, they are the relatives who would be entitled to your estate if you did not leave a will. A beneficiary is the person who receives the bequest, although he or she could still be your natural heir.

In your will, you name a person—known as the executor or personal representative—who administers your estate. This task involves paying your debts and distributing your assets according to the terms you laid out. If you have minor children, it is essential for you to name a guardian to care for them, as well as managing the property that you are leaving to them.

The legal terms for people involved in a trust differ. For example, you may be called the grantor as the creator of a trust, or if you contribute to it. You could also be called the donor, trustor or settlor. More information about your end of life options is available on our web page.