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LEGAL TERMS

MARITAL LIFE ESTATE TRUST

See AB trust.

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR

Someone appointed by a probate court to oversee probate proceedings when a person dies without a will or heirs, and his or her property is expected to pass to t... (more...)
Someone appointed by a probate court to oversee probate proceedings when a person dies without a will or heirs, and his or her property is expected to pass to the state. Some states have public administrators who are responsible for temporarily preserving the assets of an estate if there are disputes about specific provisions in the will or about who will be appointed the regular administrator.

INHERITANCE TAXES

Taxes some states impose on people or organizations who inherit property from a deceased person's estate. The taxes are based on the value of the inherited prop... (more...)
Taxes some states impose on people or organizations who inherit property from a deceased person's estate. The taxes are based on the value of the inherited property.

IN TERROREM

Latin meaning 'in fear.' This phrase is used to describe provisions in contracts or wills meant to scare a person into complying with the terms of the agreement... (more...)
Latin meaning 'in fear.' This phrase is used to describe provisions in contracts or wills meant to scare a person into complying with the terms of the agreement. For example, a will might state that an heir will forfeit her inheritance if she challenges the validity of the will. Of course, if the will is challenged and found to be invalid, then the clause itself is also invalid and the heir takes whatever she would have inherited if there were no will.

ABSTRACT OF TRUST

A condensed version of a living trust document, which leaves out details of what is in the trust and the identity of the beneficiaries. You can show an abstract... (more...)
A condensed version of a living trust document, which leaves out details of what is in the trust and the identity of the beneficiaries. You can show an abstract of trust to a financial organization or other institution to prove that you have established a valid living trust, without revealing specifics that you want to keep private. In some states, this document is called a 'certification of trust.'

DEED OF TRUST

See trust deed.

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.

FUNDING A TRUST

Transferring ownership of property to a trust.

SPRINKLING TRUST

A trust that gives the person managing it (the trustee) the discretion to disburse its funds among the beneficiaries in any way he or she sees fit.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Schneider v. Finmann

... maintain an action for legal malpractice. We now reverse and reinstate plaintiff's claim. Strict privity, as applied in the context of estate planning malpractice actions, is a minority rule in the United States. [1] In New York, a third ...

Fielding v. Kupferman

... The documents at issue in Bishop were estate planning instruments executed by the plaintiff who believed that he was giving his wife a life estate and was not limiting his access to his life savings (Bishop, 33 AD3d 497, 501 [2006], affd 9 NY3d 910 [2007]). ...

Kram Knarf, LLC v. Djonovic

... The client's malpractice complaint was silent as to how the attorneys misled him, what they failed to explain to him concerning the estate planning documents he executed, and which of his instructions those documents did not reflect (33 AD3d at 498-499). ...