From What happens after we’re gone? Estate and life planning for families in which a dependent member has a disability of mental illness by Duane Ruth-Heffelbower. Available from ADNet, P. O. box 959, Goshen, IN 46527-0959;; 877-214-9838 and Thinking About Guardianship? by KY Protection and Advocacy,, 800-372-2988.

Assets. All of the real and personal property a person owns. Trust assets or guardianship assets are the assets transferred to the trustee or guardian

Beneficiary. The person for whose benefit assets are held by an executor, guardian, trustee or conservator. The person designated to receive the income of a trust estate.

Conservatorship. A type of guardian, appointed by the Court, who manages finances only on behalf of another individual.

Discretionary trust. A trust in which the trustee has the power to decide whether or not to give the beneficiary any of the trust assets. The trustee cannot be forced to do so.

Estate. The assets of a person who has died. The term can also be used of a trust or guardianship, as in “trust estate,” in which case it means the assets of the trust or guardianship.

Executor. The person who handles the administration of a will, receiving the assets of the estate and paying the debts.

Guardian. A person who has the legal control of the affairs of another person who is incompetent. Can be guardian of the estate, guardian of the person, or both.

Intestate. Dying without a valid will.

Living trust. A trust which takes effect during the life of the trustor.

Pooled Special Needs Trust – run by a nonprofit organization in which a separate account is maintained for each individual beneficiary; all accounts are pooled for investment and management purposes.

Power of attorney. A document by which one person appoints another person to act on his or her behalf.

Special Needs of Supplemental Needs Trust. A trust which protects the assets of a person with a disability and still allows the individual to qualify for and receive governmental benefits, such as SSI and Medicaid.

Successor. The person who takes over a job after another has stopped doing it, such as a successor guardian or trustee.

Testamentary trust. A trust created in a will which takes effect upon the death of the trustor.

Trust. A legal entity created when one person gives another person property to manage for the giver for the benefit of the beneficiary. Usually thought of as being created in a written document setting out the terms of the trust.

Trustee. The person (or entity) holding and managing the assets of a trust.

Trustor or Grantor. The person giving property to a trustee to manage on the trustor’s behalf for the benefit of a beneficiary.

Will. A document signed by a person by which the person gives instructions relating to the disposition of his or her assets after death and appoints those persons who will administer the estate, including guardian(s) for minor children, executor/trix, and trustee(s).

Last Updated: June 23, 2006
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