Understanding Key Technical Terms in Estate Planning: A Guide by Morgan Legal Group PLLP
Estate planning involves a variety of legal concepts and technical terms that can be overwhelming for individuals unfamiliar with the field. However, understanding these terms is crucial to making informed decisions regarding protecting your assets and planning for the future. This blog post will provide an overview of some key technical terms you should know when opting for estate planning in Miami. As experienced estate planning attorneys at Morgan Legal Group PLLP, we are dedicated to helping individuals and families navigate the complexities of estate planning and providing the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions.
1. Last Will and Testament
The last will and testament, often referred to simply as a “will,” is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your passing. It allows you to designate beneficiaries, specify the distribution of your assets, and name an executor who will oversee the administration of your estate.
2. Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a flexible estate planning tool that holds your assets during your lifetime and allows for their efficient transfer after your passing. As the grantor, you maintain control over the trust assets and can make changes or revoke the trust during your lifetime.
3. Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone you trust the authority to make financial and legal decisions if you become incapacitated or unable to handle these matters yourself. The person you appoint as your agent or attorney-in-fact should be someone you trust implicitly, as they will have significant control over your affairs.
4. Healthcare Proxy
A healthcare proxy, or a healthcare power of attorney or medical power of attorney, is a legal document that designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot. This person, known as your healthcare agent or proxy, should be someone who understands your wishes and will advocate for your healthcare preferences.
5. Living Will or Advance Directive
A living will, also referred to as an advance directive, is a document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event you become incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes. It addresses decisions such as life support, resuscitation, and organ donation.
Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. It involves validating the will, identifying and inventorying the assets, paying any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will or determined by state law.
If someone passes away without a valid will, they are said to have died intestate. In this case, state laws dictate how their assets will be distributed among their heirs.
A trustee is a person or entity appointed to manage and administer a trust. They have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and follow the instructions outlined in the trust document.
A beneficiary is an individual or entity designated to receive assets or benefits from a trust, will, life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset. Beneficiaries can be primary or contingent, depending on the order of distribution.
Guardianship refers to the legal authority granted to an individual to care for and make decisions on behalf of another person who cannot make decisions for themselves, typically a minor child or an incapacitated adult.
11. Estate Tax
The estate tax is imposed on property transfer upon a person’s death. The tax is typically based on the value of the assets transferred and is subject to certain exemptions and thresholds.
12. Lifetime Gifting
Lifetime gifting refers to giving assets or property to another person or entity during your lifetime. It can be an estate planning strategy to reduce the value of your taxable estate and potentially minimize estate taxes.
These are just a few technical terms you may encounter when engaging in estate planning in Miami. It is essential to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can explain these terms in detail, guide you through the planning process, and ensure that your estate plan aligns with your goals and wishes.
At Morgan Legal Group PLLP, our team of dedicated estate planning attorneys has extensive experience assisting clients in Miami with their estate planning needs. We understand the complexities of the law and can provide personalized guidance to help you make the best decisions for your future and the well-being of your loved ones.
Contact our Miami-based law firm today to schedule a consultation and take the necessary steps to secure your assets, protect your family, and gain peace of mind.