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Estate Planning

Estate Planning Terms: Demystifying the Jargon with Confidence

February 7, 2024 admin
caring for someone with dementia
Estate planning - it's a topic often shrouded in confusion and a touch of trepidation. You might hear terms like "power of attorney," "trust," and "probate," and wonder: what do they all mean? How do they relate to me? Breathe easy, friend! Demystifying these terms is the first step towards creating

Estate planning – it’s a topic often shrouded in confusion and a touch of trepidation. You might hear terms like “power of attorney,” “trust,” and “probate,” and wonder: what do they all mean? How do they relate to me? Breathe easy, friend! Demystifying these terms is the first step towards creating a well-rounded estate plan, ensuring your wishes are heard and your loved ones are cared for.

The Basics:

  • Estate: Everything you own – your house, car, investments, savings, personal belongings.
  • Estate planning: The process of outlining how you want your assets distributed after your passing.
  • Beneficiary: The person or entity who inherits your assets.
  • Will: A legal document outlining your wishes for distributing your estate after death. It goes through probate, a court process to validate its authenticity.
    • Essential Terms:

      • Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA): Grants someone you trust the legal authority to manage your finances and make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself due to illness or incapacity.
      • Last Will and Testament: Commonly referred to as a “will,” it appoints an executor to carry out your wishes after you pass.
      • Living Will (Advance Directive): Outlines your medical wishes in case of terminal illness or incapacity, ensuring your end-of-life care aligns with your values.
      • Trust: A legal entity that holds assets and distributes them according to your instructions, potentially avoiding probate and offering flexibility in asset management.
      • Executor/Personal Representative: The individual responsible for carrying out the terms of your will after your passing.

      Additional Terms to Know:

      • Probate: The court process of validating a will and distributing assets according to its terms.
      • Intestacy: When someone dies without a valid will, the state distributes their assets according to its intestacy laws.
      • Guardianship: Appointing someone to make decisions for a minor child or incapacitated adult.
      • Joint Ownership: Owning property with another person, with rights and responsibilities shared.

      Remember:

      • Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy; it’s for anyone who wants their wishes respected and their loved ones protected.
      • These terms are just a starting point; consulting an attorney ensures your plan reflects your specific needs and situation.
      • Estate planning is an ongoing process; review and update your plan as your life changes.

      Reliable Resources:

      Remember, planning for the future doesn’t have to be daunting. By understanding these terms and seeking professional guidance, you can approach estate planning with confidence, knowing you’ve taken steps to protect your loved ones and ensure your wishes are heard. Peace of mind starts with knowledge, and knowledge empowers you to create a legacy of love and security.

      If you haven’t checked out Worthy Journey, FamliCare’s newsletter, please sign up today to receive encouraging information to ease the stress of your noble journey, find additional financial/legal resources, or simply find a smile.

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