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Defining some of the more complex terms in estate planning

As we have written about time and again, estate plans are incredibly important. They are also very complicated, with a lot of moving parts and terms that many people don't know or understand. Because of this, putting together an estate plan is an intimidating task that many people put off. So today, let's take a look at some of the crucial terms involved in estate planning in an effort to relieve some of that intimidation when it comes to putting together your estate.

First of all, if you die without a will then that means you and your estate are intestate. An administrator will be appointed to your case by a court to help manage your estate. If you have a will, you will name your own administrator, which is called an executor. He or she will collect debts, organize property and manage your estate after you pass away.

When a person or institution is responsible for you estate, they are called a fiduciary. You will remember this from the term "fiduciary duty," which relates to the fiduciary owing you a duty (i.e. they must act responsible and do the best they can to execute and manage your affairs after you pass away). A trust is similar to will, except that this document gives property to one person for the benefit of another person.

There are plenty of other critical terms, process and steps that need to be taken when crafting an estate plan, so please consult with an attorney if you are in the middle of such a process.

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