Glossary of Terms (D-G)

Deceased One who has died.
Deed A document that lets you ransfer title of your real estate to another person(s). Also see warranty deed and quitclaim deed.
Disclaim To refuse to accept a gift or inheritance so it can go to the recipient who is next in line.
Discretion The full or partial power to make a decision or judgment.
Disinherit To prevent someone from inheriting from you.
Distribution Payment in cash or asset(s) to one who is entitled to receive it.
Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management A legal document that gives another person full or limited legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence. Valid through incapacity. Ends at death.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care A legal document that lets you give someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. Also called a health care proxy or medical power of attorney.
Equity The current market value of an asset less any loan or liability.
Estate Assets and debts left by an individual at death.
Estate Taxes Federal or state taxes on the value of assets left at death. Also called inheritance taxes or death taxes.
Executor Person or institution named in a will to carry out its instructions. Female is executrix. Also called a personal representative.
Federal Estate Tax Exemption Amount of an individual’s estate that is exempt from federal estate taxes. Currently the federal estate exemption is $5 million (adjusted for inflation). Every dollar over the exempt amount is taxed at 40%.
Fiduciary Person having the legal duty to act primarily for another’s benefit. Implies great confidence and trust, and a high degree of good faith. Usually
associated with a trustee.
Funding The process of transferring assets to your living trust.
Gain The difference between what you receive for an asset when it is sold and what you paid for it. Used to determine the amount of capital gains tax due.
Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GSTT) A steep tax on assets that “skip” a generation and are left directly to grandchildren and younger generations. This tax is in addition to the federal estate tax. The GST exemption is equal to the federal estate tax exemption (currently $5 million, adjusted for inflation). The GST tax rate on assets over the exempt amount is 40%.
Gift A transfer from one individual to another without fair compensation.
Gift Tax A federal tax on gifts made while you are living. Currently $14,000 per person per year is exempt from gift tax. Also see “Annual Exclusion.”
Grantor The person who sets up or creates the trust. The person whose trust it is. Also called creator, settlor, trustor, donor or trustmaker.
Gross Estate The value of an estate before debts are paid.
Guardianship See “Conservatorship.”
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