estate planning

Am I an Executor or a Trustee?

Definition of estate planning terms: Trustee, Executor, Agent, Grantor and Beneficiary

Many of our new clients think the person in charge of a living trust is called Executor. That's not quite right. Each document in a living trust estate plan has a different term for the person in charge.

Living Trust. The Trustee is the person responsible for administering your living trust.

Will. The Executor is the person responsible for administering your will.

Most of the classic movies and novels about the reading of the will and the drama over who inherits the estate involve wills and not trusts. Therefore, you always hear or read about the Executor.

Families using living trusts to avoid probate is a relatively new phenomenon. Living trusts started to become popular with the advent of the personal computer about thirty years ago. Until then, most people had a will and were resigned to probate.

Durable Power of Attorney. The Agent is the person you authorize to act under your durable power of attorney.

Health Care Directive and HIPAA. The Agent is the one you authorize to make health care decisions for you and to talk to your doctors.

Grantor, Trustor, Settlor. These are synonymous terms that mean the person who created the living trust.

Beneficiary. The beneficiary is the person who inherits, whether from a living trust or a will.


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