Estate Planning
A beneficiary is any person or organization that receives assets from a person after that person’s death. For example, let's say John Smith dies and his will indicates that his two children, Sall...
The Board Certified in Estate Planning (BCE) certification is earned by brokers, advisors and financial planners who have demonstrated expertise in dealing with estate planning. In order to earn the...
A bypass trust, also called a "credit shelter trust", is a method of passing assets to beneficiaries without subjecting those assets to estate taxes. Let's say John Doe owns a horse farm worth $11...
The Chartered Trust and Estate Planner (CTEP) accreditation is issued by the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) for financial professionals who have demonstrated expertise in dealing wit...
A death tax, also called an estate tax, is a tax assessed on all or a portion of an inherited estate. Life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, belongings and debts are all part of one's estate. "...
In legal terms, a decedent is a dead person.   Let's say John Doe dies this year. He is a decedent. His will and trust enabled him to direct what happened to his possessions and his money. The lega...
An estate is all of an individual’s property and financial assets and liabilities at the time of his or her death. An estate might include a home and other real estate owned by an individual, as w...
An estate freeze is an estate planning strategy used by an owner to lock in an asset's value and avoid future tax liability when the asset is transferred to a beneficiary. An estate freeze is common...
Estate planning is the act of preparing for the transfer of a person's wealth and assets after his or her death. Assets, life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, personal belongings, and debts ar...
An executor administers the distribution of an estate to beneficiaries. A will is a legal document that indicates how a person wants his or her estate (money and property) to be distributed after de...
Gifted stock is stock that one person gives to another person or entity. Let's say John Doe bought 200 shares of Company XYZ a long time ago when it was trading at $1 a share. Over time, the stock h...
A gifting phase is when a person begins planning for or actively begins giving away wealth as part of his or her estate planning. Let's say Jane Smith is 87 and has accumulated about $3 million over...
An inheritance includes those assets of an estate that are bequeathed, in whole or in part, to specific heirs. The assets that comprise an estate are customarily transferred to individuals specified...
An inheritance tax, also called an estate tax, is a tax assessed on all or a portion of an inherited estate. Life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, belongings and debts are all part of one's e...
Intestate means dying without a will. For example, let’s assume that John Doe dies without a will. He has a sister and a brother, but no wife or children. Because John died intestate, the estate g...
A joint life with last survivor annuity is an annuity that provides spouses with income until both spouses have died. The annuity also gives the holder the option to give a portion of the remaining i...
Joint tenants in common (JTIC) is a type of ownership wherein two or more individuals jointly own a property or portfolio of assets. If one owner dies, his or her portion of the property or portfolio...
Joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS) is a type of ownership in which all joint owners have equal portions of ownership that are immediately allocated to remaining owners if one owner die...
A will is a legal document that indicates how a person wants his or her estate (money and property) to be distributed after death. Wills must expressly state whom the will belongs to, and it must be ...
A last will and testament is a legally-binding document in which an individual expresses his last wishes concerning the affairs and distribution of his estate. An individual creates a will while sti...
A named beneficiary is a person identified as the recipient of benefits from a pension plan, insurance policy, trust or other instrument. For example, let's say John Doe has a life insurance policy ...
A passive trust, also called a "dry trust" or a "naked trust", is a trust into which a person transfers assets in order to pass them on to heirs or beneficiaries. For example, let's say John Doe is...
Payable on death (POD) is a bank account type or designation. It applies to accounts when the account owner designates a beneficiary or beneficiaries for the account. The assets from the account are ...
Probate court is a section of the court system that transfers money and property from the deceased to heirs, beneficiaries or other entities. John Doe writes a will. In his will, he leaves his house...
A qualified disclaimer is a formal refusal to accept interest in property bequeathed in a will or similar document.  Section 2518 of the Internal Revenue Code permits the beneficiary of an estate o...
A qualified joint and survivor annuity (QJSA) gives a series of payments to a retirement plan participant’s spouse, child or dependent after the participant dies. QJSAs can be in defined benefit p...
A qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust allows a grantor to provide for a spouse after death but retain control of how the trust's assets are distributed after the spouse dies. For exa...
A qualifying domestic trust (QDOT) is a trust that allows non-citizens to obtain a marital deduction. For example, let's assume that John Doe is a U.S. citizen and his wife, Jane Doe, is not. Togeth...
A qualifying widow or widower is a person who can still file as married filing jointly for tax purposes. Let's say John and Jane Doe have been married for 40 years. John is diagnosed with terminal c...
Quality of life describes the happiness, independence and freedom available to an individual. For example, if John Doe hits a dog with his car one night, he may have to consider euthanizing the dog ...
A questioned document investigation is an inspection of documents that may be forged or otherwise fraudulent. Let's say John Doe dies and leaves behind a will giving everything to Sally Jones. Sally...
A revocable trust is a trust with provisions that can be altered by the grantor. Sometimes a revocable trust is referred to as a "living revocable trust." A trust is a legal instrument that allows p...
Tenancy by entirety is property ownership in which all joint owners have equal portions of ownership that are immediately allocated to remaining owners if one owner dies.  Also called joint tenants...
A wasting trust holds the assets of qualified plans when the qualified plans are frozen. Let's say Company XYZ has a pension plan for its employees. It decides to switch everyone over to a 401(k) pl...
A will is a legal document that indicates how a person wants his or her estate (money and property) to be distributed after death. Wills must expressly state to whom the will belongs and be signed, d...