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LEGAL TERMS

INTER VIVOS TRUST

The Latin name, favored by some lawyers, for a living trust. 'Inter vivos' is Latin for 'between the living.'

TITLE COMPANY

A company that issues title insurance.

BYPASS TRUST

A trust designed to lessen a family's overall estate tax liability. An AB trust is the most popular kind of bypass trust.

CHARITABLE TRUST

Any trust designed to make a substantial gift to a charity and also achieve income and estate tax savings for the person who creates the trust (the grantor).

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.

ESTATE TAXES

Taxes imposed by the state or federal government on property as it passes from the dead to the living. All property you own, whatever the form of ownership, and... (more...)
Taxes imposed by the state or federal government on property as it passes from the dead to the living. All property you own, whatever the form of ownership, and whether or not it goes through probate after your death, is subject to federal estate tax. Currently, however, federal estate tax is due only if your property is worth at least $2 million when you die. The estate tax is scheduled to be repealed for one year, in 2010, but Congress will probably make the repeal (or a very high exempt amount) permanent. Any property left to a surviving spouse (if he or she is a U.S. citizen) or a tax-exempt charity is exempt from federal estate taxes. Many states now also impose their own estate taxes or inheritance taxes.

PER CAPITA

Under a will, the most common method of determining what share of property each beneficiary gets when one of the beneficiaries dies before the willmaker, leavin... (more...)
Under a will, the most common method of determining what share of property each beneficiary gets when one of the beneficiaries dies before the willmaker, leaving children of his or her own. For example, Fred leaves his house jointly to his son Alan and his daughter Julie. But Alan dies before Fred, leaving two young children. If Fred's will states that heirs of a deceased beneficiary are to receive the property per capita, Julie and the two grandchildren will each take a third. If, on the other hand, Fred's will states that heirs of a deceased beneficiary are to receive the property per stirpes, Julie will receive one-half of the property, and Alan's two children will share his half in equal shares (through Alan by right of representation).

UNIFORM TRANSFER-ON-DEATH SECURITY ACT

A statute that allows people to name a beneficiary to inherit stocks or bonds without probate. The owner of the securities can register them with a broker using... (more...)
A statute that allows people to name a beneficiary to inherit stocks or bonds without probate. The owner of the securities can register them with a broker using a simple form that names a person to receive the property after the owner's death. Every state but Texas has adopted the statute.

ENDOWMENT INSURANCE

Provides that an insured person who lives for the specified endowment period receives the face value of the insurance policy--that is, the amount paid at death.... (more...)
Provides that an insured person who lives for the specified endowment period receives the face value of the insurance policy--that is, the amount paid at death. If the policy-holder dies sooner, the beneficiary named in the policy receives the proceeds.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Doe v. Doe

... [1] The trusts administered by the Trustees include class gifts to the grandchildren of the settlors, Chester P. Doe, Jr. (Chester Jr.) and Eleanor Warren Doe (Eleanor). ... I. THE FACTS. A. The Trusts. On June 28, 1988, Chester Jr. ...

Parker v. Shullman

... Each of these trusts had sub-trusts for her daughter Lauri and granddaughter Cassie. Barbara designated 645 Shullman as the successor trustee of all of the trusts. ... When Barbara died, Shullman became trustee of the trusts. ...

Timmons v. Ingrahm

... In his will, Frank Sr. created two trusts: the Timmons Family Trust ("Family Trust") and the Timmons Marital Trust ("Marital Trust"). [1] The Timmons Family Trust was valued at $650,000. ... Myrtle was the sole income beneficiary of the trusts during her lifetime. ...