I Made the Appointment – Now What?

couple talking to estate attorney

You’ve decided to talk to an estate attorney about your estate plan.  That’s a smart move.  The information your attorney will give you can sometimes seem overwhelming.  As a first step, it’s helpful to know some of the terminology in advance so that your meeting isn’t quite so much to take in at once.

Testator – A person who has made a will.  Sometimes a woman who has made a will is referred to as a Testatrix.

Grantor – A person who conveys property through a trust.  This person whose wishes are outlined in the trust is also referred to as a Settlor or a Trustor. Trustee – A person (or sometimes a trust company) holding title to property in the trust for the benefit of another person, acting in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Beneficiary – A person for whose benefit a will or trust was written.  This person will receive property.

Personal Representative – In most states this person is referred to as the Executor (or sometimes Executrix for women).  This is the person or trust company designated to settle the estate of a decedent according to the terms of their will.

Fiduciary – An individual or trust company acting for the benefit of another.  Trustees, Personal Representatives and the agent named in a Power of Attorney are all fiduciaries.

Be prepared for your meeting with your estate attorney.  It’s important to have a good idea who you will name as your beneficiaries and your fiduciaries, as well as a list of your assets.  Our office provides clients with a worksheet to help them make these crucial decisions.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  A good attorney will want you to feel comfortable with the decisions you make.     

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