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Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law in Society Ms. Medders 2011-2012 Legal Alternatives in Property Distribution • Decedent: person who dies. • Intestate: to die without a will. • Administrator: court-appointed representative for a decedent. • Estate: bundle of ownership rights in, and powers over, realty; also, property of the deceased. Legal Alternatives in Property Distribution • Testate: to die with a valid will. • Will: legal expression by which a person directs how his or her property is to be distributed after death. • Testator: maker of a will. • Executor: intestate’s personal representative appointed to settle the state. Legal Alternatives in Property Distribution • Codicil: formal written, and witnessed amendment to a will. • Holographic Will: will written and signed entirely by the maker. • Nuncupative Will. Orally made will. • Revocation of a Will: a will is subject to partial or total change at the desire time of the testator. A will is only intended to take effect upon the testator’s death. Distribution of the Decedent’s Estate • Procedure Prior to the Distribution • After proof of death has been established, the personal representative's duties include the following: • Assembling, preserving, inventorying, and appraising the assets of the estate and collecting the debts owed to it. • Giving public notice of the estate and the necessity for filing claims against it within the statutory Distribution of the Decedent’s Estate • period. • Paying valid claims against the estate. • Distributing the remaining property according to the will or state. • Escheats: reversion of the property to the estate. Purpose and Creation of Trusts • Trust: legal vehicle used to transfer the immediate control of property to another party. • Trustee: legal entity having title to the property named in a trust. • Settlor: creator of a trust. • Beneficiary: party for whose benefit a trust is managed; also, recipient of the amount to be paid under an insurance policy. Types of Trusts • Inter Vivos Trust: trust created during the lifetime of the settlor. • Testamentary Trust: trust created after the death of a settlor in accordance with directions in the person’s will. • Revocable Trust: may be canceled at anytime prior to the death of the settlor and the property taken back. Types of Trusts • Charitable Trust: a trust created fro the fulfillment of an altruistic purpose. • Private Trust: a trust created for a private purpose. • Spendthrift Trust: one type of a private trust that protects the beneficiary’s interest in the subject property from the beneficiary’s creditors. Types of Trusts • Express Trust: trust in which the terms are explicitly stated by the settlor. • Resulting Trust: implied trust formed to hold property for its original owner. • Constructive Trust: created to require a person holding property to transfer it to another because retention would be a wrongful and unjust enrichment of the holder.
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