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Glossary of Terms

A-B Trust:
A living trust designed to use both unified credits of a husband and wife for federal inheritance tax purposes.

A-B-C Trust:
A living trust designed to not only use both unified credits, but allows the first spouse that dies to exert control overwhat the surviving spouse is allowed to do with a portion of the estate; usually designed for estates that exceed two unified credits in value and is most commonly used in a situation involving a second marriage.

Beneficiary:
The person who receives the property from your trust. During your lifetime, you are the beneficiary of your trust; after you die, the beneficiaries are usually your children.

Conservatorship:
A court proceeding that is required if you become disabled or incompetent before you die; using Durable Powers of Attorney and a Living Trust, you can avoid a conservatorship.

Directive to Physician:
Usually known as a "living will", a Directive to Physician allows you to be taken off life support if your death is imminent.

Durable Power of Attorney:
A durable power of attorney is a document where you appoint an "attorney-in-fact" to make decisions for you regarding your health and financial affairs; there are two different ones: a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Uniform Statutory Power of Attorney (for financial matters).

Income Tax Basis:
The price you paid for an asset; the income tax basis, also known as cost basis, is subtracted from the price you sell an asset for in order to determine your capital gain.

Probate:
A court proceeding that occurs after you die in order to transfer the title of your assets to your beneficiaries.

Pour-Over Will:
A special type of will that works in conjunction with your living trust; the Pour-Over will transfer assets left outside of the trust (usually your cars and checking accounts) into your trust after you die.

Trust:
A document that owns your property and transfers it to your beneficiaries when you die without going through probate.

Trustee:
The person who manages the assets in a trust; you are usually the trustee of your trust during your lifetime. After you die, the person you appointed as the successor trustee manages the trust assets and distributes the assets to the beneficiaries of your trust following the directions contained in the trust. Usually, you will name your children as your successor trustees.

Trustor:
The person who creates the trust; this person may revoke or change the terms of the trust at any time by amending the trust.

Unified Credit:
The dollar value of the assets one is allowed to leave to their beneficiaries without paying federal inheritance tax.

Will:
A document that directs who will receive your assets after you die; in most cases, a will must go through probate.