The Basics

The Basics

September 2017

By Carl A. Glad, Esq., Partner Law Offices of Kurt M. Ahlberg LLC

September is the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. Kids are back in school and parents are struggling to get back on schedule. Football is just kicking off and baseball is closing in on the playoffs. This season of change is a good opportunity to go over some of the basic definitions associated with estate planning.

Administrator: An individual named by a Probate Court to represent a decedent’s estate when there is no Will.

Agent: Someone appointed to act for another through a Power-of-Attorney.

Decedent: The individual that has died.

Executor: An individual appointed by a Will to represent a decedent’s estate.

Fiduciary: An individual that owes a legal and or ethical responsibility to another because of the nature of their relationship. For example, an Executor owes a duty to protect an estate for the heirs, or an Agent appointed by a Power-of-Attorney owes a duty to protect the finances of the principal.

Healthcare Representative: A legal document that appoints an individual to make medical decisions for the principal if they are unable to do so on their own.

Living Will: A legal document that details end of life medical care including whether to retain or terminate certain life maintaining care such a respiratory, cardiopulmonary, and hydration.

Power-of-Attorney: A legal document authorizing an individual to act on behalf of the Principal in most matters other than health care decisions. A Durable Power-of-Attorney will continue in force if the Principal becomes incapable of making their own decisions.

Principal: The individual granting certain powers to another either through a Power-of-Attorney or Healthcare Representative.

Probate: The process administered by the Probate Court that leads to the final disposition of an estate. Each town in Connecticut is assigned to a specific Probate District.

Trust: A legal agreement where one individual, known as the Trustee, holds and manages assets for the benefit of another, that individual is known as the beneficiary.

Will: The Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines the distribution of an individual’s assets after they pass. In Connecticut, the document must be witnessed by two individuals and acknowledged by a notary or attorney.

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