Estate Planning & Probate
Estate Planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges the transfer of assets in anticipation of death. Probate is the judicial process by which a "will" is proved in a court of law.
Last Will and Testament
A legal document that communicates a person's final wishes pertaining to distribution of assets after death.
Power of Attorney
A legal document giving one person the power to act for another person.
Health Care Directive
A legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity.
Community Property Agreement
A legal document between spouses or state registered domestic partners to characterize their property as community property and transfer the same to their spouse or domestic partner after death without a probate.
A legal document between spouses before they marry concerning the ownership of their respective assets should the marriage fail.
A judicial process whereby a will is "proved" in a court of law and accepted as the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the state of residence of the deceased at time of death in the absence of a legal will.
An entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust.
The legal act by which an adult formally becomes the guardian/parent of a child and incurs the rights and responsibilities of a parent. Adult adoptions are also available after a child attains the age of eighteen (18).
The legal act of a person of adopting a new name different from their current name and being able to register their new name on all forms of identification.