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Maryland Estate Planning Terms Defined

If you’re new to estate planning, you might feel overwhelmed. Any legal process can feel intimidating. In this post we will briefly define several key terms to give you a broader understanding of the subject so that, when you do decide to put an estate plan in place, you will have a better foundation.



A person’s assets include anything legally owned, such as a house, cars, and collectibles, as well as bank accounts, life insurance policies, and financial investments.



“Estate” is a term used to refer to the entirety of a person’s assets after death.


Personal Representative

Sometimes referred to as an Executor, a Personal Representative is the person named in a Will to administer a decedent’s estate and carry out all instructions set forth in the Will.



This is a broad term used to describe any individual or financial institution assigned to manage money or property for the beneficiaries of a Will or Trust, including any Powers of Attorney, Personal Representatives, or Trustees.



A Grantor is any person who establishes or contributes to a Trust.



A person who dies without a valid Will is referred to as intestate. In these cases, an individual’s assets will be administered according to the state of Maryland’s intestate laws. See our blog “What Does Intestate Mean and Why Does it Matter.”



“Probate” refers to a court-supervised process in which a decedent’s Will is verified as authentic and their assets are administered to designated beneficiaries.



A Trust is a fiduciary relationship that permits a third party to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary.



A “Will” is a legal document containing instructions for the distribution of a person’s assets after death. A Will can also set forth guardianship for minor children.


For a free, confidential conversation to discuss estate planning, contact Maryland estate attorney Stephen J. Reichert at 410-299-4959, or by emailing


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