Probate and Inheritance Glossary

Helpful Research Content: Learning about a Probate based Inheritance Cash Advance, or Trust based Inheritance Loans

Heir Advance Co. not only provides Inheritance Loans for Heirs of Probates & Inheritance Cash Advances for Trust Beneficiaries we also furnish our visitors with well researched, informational content covering Probate and Trust Estate issues.

Moreover, we include a robust Probate, Trust and Inheritances Glossary to provide visitors with important definitions and descriptions of relevant Estate, Probate and Trust terms generally of interest to Heirs of Probates or Beneficiaries of Trusts visiting the website in Canada or the United States.

Heirs with Inheritances in Probate or Trust who are looking for an Inheritance Cash Advance are typically also interested in educating themselves in Inheritance matters, in addition to simply looking up Inheritance Loans. For one reason, so you as an Heir will know what your Probate lawyer is talking about; for another so you can protect the financial Estate left to your care, generally by those you love and respect.


An individual appointed by the court to manage one's estate when he or she dies without leaving a will. Administrators have the same duties as executors and are responsible for collecting property, paying debts and taxes and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Appreciated Property

Property, such as real estate or stock, which has increased in value.


A person or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan.


To give or leave personal property or assets by will to an individual or charity. A bequest may be for a specific amount or percentage of the estate.

Breach of Trust

Failure of a trustee to fulfill required duties; includes doing things illegally, negligently or forgetfully.

Capital Gain or Loss

The profit or loss from the sale of a capital asset. Long-term capital assets are assets that have been held for a year and a day. Short-term assets are assets held less than a year and a day.

Capital Gains Tax

A tax that is assessed on the difference between the cost basis (the original amount of purchase) of an asset and its fair market value. The current capital gains tax rate is 15% for most types of investment property.

Charitable Gift Annuity

An agreement in which you transfer cash or other assets to a charitable organization in exchange for its promise to pay you a guaranteed stream of income for life or for a term of years. The annuity payout rate is fixed and is determined by the age of the annuitant(s).

Charitable Income Tax Reduction

A deduction is provided to a donor who makes a gift to qualifying charities. If cash is donated to a public charity, the donor may claim a deduction for up to 50% of his adjusted gross income. If the gift is property held long term, the donor may obtain a deduction for up to 30% of his adjusted gross income.

Charitable Trust

A trust having a charitable organization as a beneficiary.


A legal document that changes or modifies an earlier will.

Corporate Fiduciary

An institution that acts for the benefit of another. One example is a bank acting as trustee.

Cost Basis

The original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation.

Durable Power of Attorney

A written legal document that allows an individual to designate another person to act on his or her behalf, even in the event that the individual becomes disabled or incompetent.

Endowed Fund

A fund through which the principal of a gift is managed in perpetuity and only a portion of the earnings is distributed or spent annually.

Estate Tax

A tax imposed at one's death on the transfer of most types of property. Individuals pay a federal estate tax of 35% to 49% on estates greater than $1.5 million in 2004 increasing to $3.5 million in 2009. Under current legislation, the estate tax is due to be repealed in 2010.

Executor (or Personal Representative)

The person named in a will to manage the estate. This person will collect the property, pay debts and taxes and distribute property or assets according to the will.


A person or institution legally responsible for the management, investment and distributions of funds. Examples include trustees, executors and administrators.

Gift Tax

A tax assessed on transfers made by a donor to an individual during life. The gift tax is generally paid by the person making the gift, rather than the recipient. Under current law, an individual can gift $1 million during his lifetime without being taxed. In addition, each year, a donor can make gifts of $11,000 to as many recipients as he wishes without paying taxes.

Gift-Tax Annual Exclusion

The provision in the tax law that exempts the first $11,000 in present-interest gifts a person gives to each recipient during a year from federal gift taxes.


The person who transfers assets into a trust for the benefit of another.

Gross Estate

The total value of property or assets held by an individual as defined for federal estate tax purposes.


An individual legally appointed to manage the rights and/or property of a person incapable of taking care of his or her own affairs.

Inter vivos

A type of trust created during one's lifetime to hold property for the benefit of another person.


Any right or ownership in property.


The term applied when an individual dies without a will.

Joint Ownership

The ownership of property by two or more people, usually with the right of survivorship.

Life Insurance Trust

An irrevocable trust which is owner and beneficiary of one or more life insurance policies. Upon the death of the insured, the trustee invests the insurance proceeds and administers the trust for the beneficiary(ies).

Living Trust

A revocable trust established by a grantor during his or her lifetime in which the grantor transfers some or all of his or her property into the trust.

Living Will

A legal document directing the extent to which an individual desires to receive artificial life support in the event of a terminal illness or injury. A living will may also name a third party to make medical decisions on one's behalf.

Marital Deduction

A deduction allowing for the unlimited transfer of any or all property from one spouse to the other generally free of estate and gift tax.

Power of Attorney

A written legal document that gives an individual the authority to act for another.

Powers of Appointment

A right given to another in a written instrument, such as a will or trust that allows the other to decide how to distribute the property. The power of appointment is "general" if it places no restrictions on whom the distributees may be. A power is "limited" or "special" if it limits the eventual distributee.


The court process for determining the validity of a deceased person's will and distributing the property as specified by the will.

Testamentary Trust

A trust that is created upon death by the terms of a person's will.


An individual who dies leaving a will or testament in force.


A written legal instrument created by a grantor during his or her lifetime or at death for the benefit of another.


The individual or institution entrusted with the duty of managing property placed in the trust. A "co-trustee" serves as trustee with another. A "contingent trustee" becomes trustee upon the occurrence of a specified future event.

Unified Credit

A federal tax credit that offsets gift tax and estate tax liability. For gift tax purposes, the unified credit remains at $345,800 through 2009, which is equivalent to an applicable exclusion amount of $1 million. For estate tax purposes, the unified credit is being gradually increased from $555,800 in 2004 to $1,455,800 in 2009, which is equivalent to an applicable exclusion amount of $1.5 million in 2004 to $3.5 million in 2009.


A legally executed document that directs how and to whom a person's property is to be distributed after death.

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