- A legal document that outlines what actions should be taken after an individual's death. The person writing the will (the testator) names one or more individuals to manage his or her estate (the executor) and to transfer property to any beneficiaries. If the testator has children, it is customary to name who will take care of the children after the testator's death. Also known as a "testament" or "last will and testament."
last will and testament, testament
Related Terms and Acronyms
- Contingent Beneficiary — Definition,
- A beneficiary who only receives his or her benefit when specific conditions have been met.
- Estate — Definition,
- The ownership interest of an individual in real property.
- The total sum of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.
- Estate Planning — Definition,
- The process of determining how assets will be dispersed after an individual's death, ideally in the most tax-efficient way possible.
- Executor — Definition,
- The person who manages the estate of a deceased individual.
- Fiduciary — Definition,
- An individual, company, or association that manages assets for another party. Fiduciaries include executors of wills and estates, trustees, receivers in bankruptcy, and those responsible for managing the finances of a minor.
- Fiduciary Duty — Definition,
- A requirement that someone in a position of trust, such as a banker, real-estate agent, or title agent, must act in good faith and trust on behalf of a client.
- Power of Attorney (POA, PA) — Acronym,
- A document in which the signer authorizes someone to conduct business in his or her name -- signing title documents and cheques, for example.
- Probate — Definition,
- The process of deciding the validity of a deceased person's will and appointing an executor.
- Probate Sale — Definition,
- Sale of property after the death of the owner, supervised by a court, with proceeds divided among creditors and heirs.
- Sprinkling Provision — Definition,
- A provision that gives a trustee the authority to distribute life insurance death benefits as he or she sees fit, and to those who need the money the most.