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LEGAL TERMS

KINDRED

Under some state's probate codes, all relatives of a deceased person.

BENEFICIARY

A person or organization legally entitled to receive benefits through a legal device, such as a will, trust or life insurance policy.

GENERATION-SKIPPING TRUST

A trust designed to save on estate tax. The trust principal is preserved for the trust maker's grandchildren, with his or her children receiving only income fro... (more...)
A trust designed to save on estate tax. The trust principal is preserved for the trust maker's grandchildren, with his or her children receiving only income from the trust. Because the children (the middle generation) never legally own the property, it isn't subject to estate tax at their death. See generation-skipping transfer tax.

IRREVOCABLE TRUST

A permanent trust. Once you create it, it cannot be revoked, amended or changed in any way.

SPENDTHRIFT TRUST

A trust created for a beneficiary the grantor considers irresponsible about money. The trustee keeps control of the trust income, doling out money to the benefi... (more...)
A trust created for a beneficiary the grantor considers irresponsible about money. The trustee keeps control of the trust income, doling out money to the beneficiary as needed, and sometimes paying third parties (creditors, for example) on the beneficiary's behalf, bypassing the beneficiary completely. Spendthrift trusts typically contain a provision prohibiting creditors from seizing the trust fund to satisfy the beneficiary's debts. These trusts are legal in most states, even though creditors hate them.

INVESTOR

A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes invest... (more...)
A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes investments for others who have entrusted her with their money.

DISINHERIT

To deliberately prevent someone from inheriting something. This is usually done by a provision in a will stating that someone who would ordinarily inherit prope... (more...)
To deliberately prevent someone from inheriting something. This is usually done by a provision in a will stating that someone who would ordinarily inherit property -- a close family member, for example -- should not receive it. In most states, you cannot completely disinherit your spouse; a surviving spouse has the right to claim a portion (usually one-third to one-half) of the deceased spouse's estate. With a few exceptions, however, you can expressly disinherit children.

LIVING TRUST

A trust you can set up during your life. Living trusts are an excellent way to avoid the cost and hassle of probate because the property you transfer into the t... (more...)
A trust you can set up during your life. Living trusts are an excellent way to avoid the cost and hassle of probate because the property you transfer into the trust during your life passes directly to the trust beneficiaries after you die, without court involvement. The successor trustee--the person you appoint to handle the trust after your death--simply transfers ownership to the beneficiaries you named in the trust. Living trusts are also called 'inter vivos trusts.'

INVENTORY

A complete listing of all property owned by a deceased person at the time of death. The inventory is filed with the court during probate. The executor or admini... (more...)
A complete listing of all property owned by a deceased person at the time of death. The inventory is filed with the court during probate. The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for making and filing the inventory.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Blondell v. Littlepage

... Noble v. Bruce, 349 Md. 730, 733, 709 A.2d 1264 (1998), rejected a third party beneficiary argument in consolidated cases involving malpractice actions by testamentary beneficiaries for negligent estate planning and negligent drafting of the testator's will, respectively. Id. ...

Attorney Grievance v. Coppola

... the Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC" or "Rule"), including Rule 1.2(d) (Scope of Representation), [2] Rules 3.3(a)(1) and (a)(2) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), [3] and Rules 8.4(a), (b), (c), and (d) (Misconduct), [4] with regard to estate planning services provided ...

Karsenty v. Schoukroun

... Facts. This case arises from a decedent's inter vivos distribution of his assets through the use of both probate and non-probate estate planning arrangements. ... This case centers on the estate planning arrangements that Gilles made in the last three to four months of his life. ...