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Elder LawGlossary of Elder Law Terms


Amendment: An addition, deletion, or change in a legal document.

Annuitant: The person upon whose life the payments are based in an annuity contract.

Annuity: An insurance contract written to provide either income benefits for a specified period or to provide for life payments, which can begin immediately, but sometimes are deferred to some future date.

Asset(s): The property owned by the trust, which can include real, personal and intangible property.

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Beneficiary: (1) The person for whose benefit a trust is created. (2) The person to whom the amount an insurance policy or annuity is payable.

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Guardian: An individual or a trust institution appointed by a court to care for the property or for the person (or both) of a minor or an incapacitated person.

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Heirs: The people entitled to a decedent's estate if he dies without a will; the identity of these people is determined by Florida's intestate succession rules.

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Income: The return in money or property derived from the use of the trust's principal.

Intangible Property: Property that has no intrinsic value, but is merely the representative or evidence of value, such stock certificates, bond certificates, promissory notes, copyrights and franchises.

Irrevocable Trust: A trust which by its terms (1) cannot be revoked by the grantor or (2) can be terminated by him only with the consent of someone who has an adverse interest in the trust.

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Last Will and Testament: A legal document in which a person makes a disposition of his real and personal property, to take effect after his death, and which is revocable by the person during his lifetime; the person creating the will is known as a testator.

Life Beneficiary: The person who receives payments or other rights from a trust for his lifetime.

Living Trust: A trust created during the grantor's lifetime, which becomes effective during the grantor's lifetime as opposed to a testamentary trust, which takes effect at the death of the grantor. A living trust is also known as an inter vivos trust.

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Pour-Over Will: A simple will used with a living trust in which the person devises any property titled in his sole name to his trust at his death. If there are any such assets, then a probate administration will be required.

Power of Attorney: A document, authorizing the person named therein to act as the agent, called the attorney-in-fact, for the person signing the document. A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. The ability of the attorney-in-fact to use the power of attorney terminates when the principal dies.

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Qualifying Special Needs Trust (QSNT): In Florida, a trust established for a disabled surviving spouse with court approval. The assets of this trust will consist of at least the surviving spouse's elective share. The trustee has complete discretion to make income or principal distributions to the surviving spouse. Less than half of the trustees of a Qualifying Special Needs Trust can be ineligible family trustees.

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Real Property: Land and anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings, fences and fixtures; also known as real estate.

Revocable Trust: A trust which may be amended or terminated by the grantor or by another person; opposite of an irrevocable trust.

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Special Needs Trust (SNT): A trust created by a grantor for the benefit of a person receiving public benefits to provide for that person's additional needs that are not covered by public benefits. The trustee has complete discretion in making distributions to or for the beneficiary; however, the trustee must be extremely careful that any distributions from the trust do not result in the beneficiary's loss of public benefits assistance.

Tangible Property: Property which can be touched or realized with the senses; can be real or personal property.

Testate: To die with a valid will.

Title: A document establishing the ownership of an asset, such as a deed, bank signature card, motor vehicle certificate, stock certificate.

Trust: A legal entity created by a grantor for the benefit of designated beneficiaries; the trustee holds a fiduciary responsibility to manage the trust's assets and income for the benefit of all beneficiaries.

Trust Fund: Technically, only money held in the trust; but frequently applied to all the property held in the trust.



The Schofner Law Firm Ted Schofner, Elder Law Attorney
2117 Indian Rocks Road Largo, FL 33774
Phone 727-588-0290 Toll Free 800-891-9996 Fax 727-584-0932 •