Share Your Experience

five star review
Lombard Office
Text Us Now

Understanding Estate Planning Terminology in DuPage County

 Posted on March 04, 2022 in Estate Planning Blog

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_290922173.jpgThe terminology used in estate planning can be challenging to understand. If you feel a little confused when you read about estate planning topics because of all the “legalese,” you are far from alone. Many of the legal terms used in the estate planning field have very specific meanings. Some terms are used when discussing trusts, but not wills, or vice versa. Other terms you may know are outdated and no longer in use. It can be difficult to keep track of all the legal terms you might hear or read when it comes to wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and guardianships. This is one of many reasons that it is very important to let an attorney help you build your estate plan.

What Are Some Legal Terms I Might Need to Know?

Some important terms you might want to be familiar with when you start working on your estate plan include: 

  • Testator - The person who is making their will. 

  • Grantor/Settlor - These terms are used interchangeably to refer to someone who is making their trust. 

  • Intestacy - This refers to dying without having made an estate plan. 

  • Heir - A person who naturally inherits from you should you die intestate. If you are currently alive, technically, you do not have any heirs. Who a person’s exact heirs are cannot be determined until they have passed away. 

  • Heir apparent - A person who would probably be one of your heirs. 

  • Legatee - A person who receives a gift under the terms of a will.

  • Executor - A person who is named or appointed to administer a will. 

  • Administrator - The person a court appoints to administer an intestate estate. 

  • Bequest - A gift given through a will. 

  • General bequest - A share of an estate given in a will without further specification. For example, “Half my estate goes to my wife.”

  • Specific bequest - A specific gift made through a will. For example, “To my friend Bob, I leave my Jeep.”

  • Beneficiary - A person who will receive a gift under the terms of a trust.  

  • Contingent beneficiary - A person who will receive a gift under the terms of a trust only if a certain condition is met. For example, “$5,000 to my niece if she graduates from college.”

  • Trustee - The person named to administer a trust. 

  • Principal - The person who is making their powers of attorney.

  • Agent - The person the principal appoints to act on their behalf. 

  • Incapacity - A state where you cannot make your own health care decisions or manage your own affairs. 

These are just a few of the terms you may hear used in estate planning. There are plenty more that address different or more complex situations. 

Contact an Illinois Estate Planning Lawyer

A. Traub & Associates can help you create a strong plan for estates, from the most simple to the most complex. Let our highly knowledgeable Lombard estate planning attorneys navigate the often-confusing world of wills, trusts, and incapacity planning for you. Call us at 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation. 


Share this post:
Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Back to Top