One of the most challenging parts for people unfamiliar with the estate planning process is the specific vocabulary used to talk about each of the documents involved in an estate plan.
In this post, we'll cover some of the words associated with the creation of a Will to help you be more conversant with your estate planning lawyer.
- "Testator" - This is the person who makes a Will.
- "Gift", "Bequest", or "Devise" - These words are used interchangeably, and they all refer to property that you would like to give away at the time of your death. Thus for example, you might tell your estate planning lawyer, "I would like to make a bequest of $1,000 to my niece, Sally, when I pass away."
- "Codicil" - From time to time, you may need to revise or amend your Will without rewriting the Will entirely. You can do this by creating a codicil to your Will.
- "Executor" - This is the person that you name in your Will to carry out the tasks of collecting your assets, paying off your debts, and distributing your property to your beneficiaries.
A Will is amendable and revocable up until the time of death. A "Will" also includes the original Will and all Codicils to it.