Glossary of Terms (H-N)

Health Care Proxy See “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.”
Heir One who is entitled by law to receive part of your estate.
Holographic Will A handwritten will.
Homestead Exemption Portion of your residence(dwelling and surrounding land) that cannot be sold to satisfy a creditor’s claim while you are living.
Incapacitated/Incompetent Unable to manage one’s own affairs, either temporarily or permanently. Lack of legal power.
Independent Administration A form of probate available in many states. Intended to simplify the probate process by requiring fewer court appearances and less court supervision.
Inheritance The assets received from someone who has died.
Inter vivos Latin term that means “between the living.” An inter vivos trust is created while you are living instead of after you die. A revocable living trust
is an inter vivos trust.
Irrevocable Trust A trust that cannot be changed (revoked) or cancelled once it is set up. Opposite of revocable trust.
Intestate Without a will.
Joint Ownership A form of ownership in which two or more persons own the same asset together. Types of joint ownership include joint tenants with right of survivorship, tenants in common, and tenants by the entirety.
Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship A form of joint ownership in which the deceased owner’s share automatically and immediately transfers to the surviving joint tenant(s).
Land Trust Often used for privacy. Title is transferred to a corporate trustee or corporation, but you keep control over how the property is managed. Because the title is in the name of the corporate trustee or corporation, no one knows the property belongs to you. In all financial transactions and dealings, your personal name never comes up. Also called a title holding trust.
Liquid Assets Cash and other assets (like stocks) that can easily be converted into
cash.
“Living Probate” The court-supervised process of managing the assets of one who is incapacitated.
Living Trust A written legal document that creates an entity to which you transfer ownership of your assets. Contains your instructions for managing your assets during your lifetime and for their distribution upon your incapacity or death. Avoids probate at death and court control of assets at incapacity. Also called a revocable inter vivos trust. A trust created during one’s lifetime.
Living Will A written document that states you do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means when the illness or injury is terminal.
Marital Deduction A deduction on the federal estate tax return that lets the first spouse to die leave an unlimited amount of assets to the surviving spouse free of estate taxes. However, if no other tax planning is used, and the surviving spouse’s estate is more than the amount of the federal estate tax exemption in effect at the time of his/her death, estate taxes will be due at that time.
Marital Trust See “A Trust.”
Medicaid A federally-funded health care program for the poor and minor children.
Medicare A federally-funded health care program, primarily for Americans over age 65 who are covered by Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.
Minor One who is under the legal age for an adult, which varies by state (usually age 18 or 21).
Net Estate The value of an estate after all debts have been paid. (Federal estate taxes are based on the net value of an estate.)
Net Value The current market value of an asset less any loan or debt.
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