Estate Planning. The process of arranging for the use,
conservation and transfer of one's property, including property of both
sentimental and monetary value, during one's life and after one's
Intestacy . Intestate refers to a person who dies
without a valid Will.
Testacy . Testate refers to a
person who dies with a validly executed Will.
Will . A
Will is a person's legal declaration as to how he or she wishes their property
to be distributed at their death. A Will must be in writing, signed by the
testator or testatrix or signed in his name at his direction and in his or her
presence, and witnessed by 2 adult persons. A Will may establish a
tangible personal property list.
(Executor) . A person or agency named in a Will to administer the
estate of a deceased person.
Trust . A right of
property, real or personal, held by one party for the benefit of
Revocable Living Trust . A legal document which
functions much like a Will. It is a legal entity with specific legal rights
and obligations. It is amendable by the maker of the Trust and assets can
be added to the Trust or subtracted from it. While the Trust exists, it is
managed by a trustee and the trustee will dispose of the assets in accord with
the direction which the language of the Trust
Probate . Probate is the court supervised
system of administration of an estate, that is of liquidating assets, paying of
legitimate debts, transferring a persons property after death to his heirs. This
process can be avoided by the use of a Revocable Living
Guardianship. Guardianship is the most
encompassing type of substitute decision making on behalf of another person and
the most limiting of a person's rights. An individual under guardianship is
presumed by the court to be legally incompetent. The individual loses the
authority to make all decisions, such as where he or she will live, how to spend
his or her money, or in what kind of program he or she should participate. The
person who makes decisions for the ward is called the guardian. A person who is
under guardianship is called the ward. Guardianship should be considered only
when no less restrictive alternative exists. (M.S. 524.5 101 et seq).
Conservatorship . Conservatorship is a limited form of
guardianship and includes the management of a protected persons estate. A person
under conservatorship is not presumed to be legally incompetent and retains the
right to vote. The person for whom a conservator is appointed is called the
conservatee. The person who petitions to make decisions for the conservatee
is called the conservator. (M.S. 524.5 - 102 (3)).
Care Directive . This is a written instrument that complies with
section 145C.03 and includes one or more health care instructions, a health care
power of attorney, and functions as a Living Will.
principal is a person 18 years of age or older who has executed a Health Care
Agent. An agent is an individual appointed by the principal to
make health care decisions on behalf of the principal. The agent also can review
medical records, and a nominated guardian for purposes of health care (see