Advance Health Care Directive - Also known as a "living will" or "medical directive," in this document a declarant (1) names an agent to make health care decisions on behalf of the declarant if he or she ever loses the capacity to do so and (2) directs under what conditions life-sustaining procedures should be withdrawn.

Estate - Property owned by a person at death.

Estate Tax - A federal tax paid by a decedent's estate on the amount by which the estate's value exceeds the applicable estate tax exemption.  In 2011, the estate tax rate is 35%.  A similar tax can also be imposed on a state level.

Estate Tax Exemption - An amount which an estate's value must exceed before an estate tax is due.  For example, in 2011 the federal estate tax exemption is $5,000,000.

Financial Power of Attorney - names an agent to manage a person's finances; usually grants the agent power to do anything the person could do with respect to the person's finances.  It may take effect immediately or when the person is unable to manage their own finances because of disability or incapacity.  It is also called a "Durable Power of Attorney" because it remains effective if the person granting the power is disabled or incapacitated.

Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax - a federal tax which, subject to certain exceptions, is assessed when a person gives property, either in life or at death, to a descendant other than the person's children, or to anyone more than one generation younger than the person making the gift.  In 2011, the tax equals 35% of the value of the property given and is paid by the gift recipient.

Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax Exemption - an amount which, if allocated to a generation skipping transfer, exempts the gift recipient from paying GST Tax.  The GST Tax exemption amount may be allocated to a single gift or cumulated through successive gifts.

Gift Tax - a tax paid by the recipient of a lifetime gift.  Federal gift tax does not apply to gifts less than the annual exclusion amount, which in 2011 is $13,000.

Irrevocable Trust - a trust that cannot be amended or revoked by the trustmaker.

Living (Inter Vivos) Trust - A trust that takes effect during the trustmaker's lifetime.

Legacy Plan – A plan, usually comprising many estate planning documents and wealth planning tools to ensure a person’s legacy is directed as they intent.

Living Will - See Advance Health Care Directive.

Medical Power of Attorney - See Advance Health Care Directive.

Pour-Over Will - A will that sends the willmaker's property to the willmaker's trust.

Probate - The legal process by which a decedent's property is collected and preserved; the decedent's debts and taxes are paid; and the remaining property is distributed according to the decedent's will or, if the decedent had no will, according to state laws of inheritance.

Probate Estate - Property owned by a willmaker that is governed by the will; excludes property that passes outside the will, such as jointly owned property, life insurance, and retirement accounts.

Revocable Trust - A living trust that can be amended or revoked by the trustmaker.

Taxable Estate - property of a decedent that is subject to estate tax; includes property either owned or controlled by a decedent at death.

Testamentary Trust - A trust that takes effect on the trustmaker's death.

Trust - An enforceable agreement in which a trustee holds and manages property for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries; governs final distribution of the trust property; names an initial and successor trustees.

Will - Takes effect at death; governs distribution of property in the willmaker's probate estate; names an executor to be in charge of the estate; can also name guardians for minor children.