I MADE THE APPOINTMENT – NOW WHAT?
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.