As many readers know, a will is a legal document that dictates where a person’s possessions will go upon their passing. There can be a lot of legal terminology used with creating a will, some of which one may or may not be familiar with. Let’s break down some of those legal terms and what they mean.

Estate

Estate is the assets one owns, bee it pricey cars and homes, rare photographs or designer jewelry. It can also include handwritten letters from old friends or treasured hand-me-down dresses from a grandmother. An estate includes everything an individual owns, not such things deemed expensive due to monetary value.

Executor 

An executor is the individual a person names in their will to manage their estate upon their passing. A person can name anyone they wish to be their executor. A lot of people choose a spouse, an adult child or a close relative to be their executor. Choosing an attorney as an executor is always an option as well, particularly if an estate is a large and/or complex one. It’s also worth noting one can designate joint executors in their will, such as both an adult child and a lawyer.

Beneficiary

A beneficiary is a person you choose to receive any of your material assets (estate) upon your passing. A beneficiary can be anyone—your spouse, your child, a close friend, a neighbor. It is also common for most wills to have more than one beneficiary.

Heir

An heir is an individual who will inherit an estate under state law if there is not a valid will set in place upon a person’s passing. A lot of times, heirs are children and/or spouses.

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