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What does The Estate mean?
Essentially, someone’s estate includes everything they owned at the time of their death. This includes but is not limited to a person’s belongings, physical and intangible assets, real estate, investments, vehicles, collections, and home furnishings.
What is Estate Planning?
Is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage an individual’s asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death. Estate planning addresses who becomes responsible for caring for another should a person become unable or unwilling to manage their health and financial decisions. It also includes the bequest of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes.
What is a Last Will & Testament?
A last will and testament is a legal document that explains how and when beneficiaries will inherit property and assets. It directs disposition of assets not owned in a trust or otherwise distributed by way of beneficiary designation i.e. retirement accounts, annuities, and life insurance.

It should also name an executor, sometimes called a personal representative. This is the individual who will oversee settling the final affairs and guiding the estate through the probate process.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?
A revocable living trust, also known simply as a revocable trust, is a written document that determines how assets will be handled after death. Assets can include real estate, valuable possessions, bank accounts and investments.
What does a Power of Attorney mean?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a principal to appoint an agent to act for them should they become incapacitated. The agent will have the authority to manage financial or health care decisions and is expected to place the principal’s interests ahead of his or her own.
What is an Estate Settlement?
The legal process that takes place after someone dies that involves taking care of debts and then distributing the remaining assets. The essence of the job is to carry out the deceased person’s wishes which includes collecting that person’s assets, paying debts, taxes, and distributing what’s left to the beneficiaries. That is the process of an estate being “settled.”
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process that validates the will of someone who has recently died and the administration of their estate. Certain items like assets held in trusts, retirement accounts, annuities and life insurance avoid probate with proper beneficiary designations.

Typically, probate involves paperwork and court appearances by lawyers. The lawyers and court fees are paid from estate property, which would otherwise go to the people who inherit the deceased person’s property.

What is a Testamentary Trust?
It is a trust that is established in accordance with the instructions contained in a last will and testament. A type of trust that is established upon the passing of the trust creator and funded with the trust creator’s estate assets. Unlike a Living Trust, a Testamentary Trust goes into effect after one’s death. The trustee named is responsible for managing and distributing the trustor’s assets to the beneficiaries as directed in the will.
What assurances are there that WWWB will still be in business when I pass
Great question. WWWB has been in business for almost 20 years and are taking steps to ensure its longevity by hiring and training the next generation of trustees. Also, being a wholly owned subsidiary of a financial services firm that is regulated by the SEC, if the worst possible case were to occur, steps have been taken to have these agreements taken over by another trust services firm, if needed.
I have heard that it is possible for firms to get control of my assets and sell everything quickly, since they can collect a percentage of the sale?
Our trustees our recognized by the legal system as fiduciaries, whether managing trusts, conservatorships or guardianships. They are held to a higher legal standard and higher auditing procedures. In addition, they do not receive any compensation for sales of assets. They are paid on a fee basis and their rates are provided when services begin.
I have been told that fees can get very high, since they are always discussing items with lawyers and those fees are expensive.
Because of our experience and training, normally, lawyer interaction is very limited. It can occur, however, when someone wants to contest the trust or other court decisions. In those instances, attorneys may be brought in to protect your intentions and desires on how your assets are distributed.
What services do the trustees/guardians/conservators do?

In essence, they act on your behalf. After your passing, most people do not realize or know how to accomplish the tasks needed to close your estate. It is possible, that interactions may have to occur with real estate agents, accountants, lawyers, the IRS and others to successfully close the estate. Though, it is possible for anyone to accomplish these tasks, mistakes made in filing or not filing can become very costly.

What if the trustee/guardian/conservator makes a mistake?
Though rare, it is possible. Our firm is insured/bonded in case these events occur.
My child is extremely smart and capable to handle all the things that need to be done.
Managing an estate is not something most people are trained to do when needed. Though your child could do all the items needed correctly, they will be learning “on-the-fly” which will take more time, be in mourning and need to deal with other family members (and possibly their spouse) in explaining how things are progressing. That is a lot to deal with and has shown to be a situation where existing family situations can be ruined. A situation which most people do not want to make be the last gift they give to their family.
My child wants to be the Executor.
Have you talked to them about that? Most will agree to do out of a sense of obligation versus desire. Most people who have heard what it takes to do this or the possible strife that could occur from it, will not readily agree to take this on.

Common Estate Planning terms:


Is a person or organization named in a legal document who is set to inherit something from an estate when someone else dies. This might be money, possessions, property or stocks and shares – anything that the person who has died left behind.


To give or leave by will.


An executor is an individual responsible for managing the affairs of a deceased person’s probate estate.

Someone who receives property from an ancestor.
Last Will and Testament
Now most commonly referred to simply as a “Will,” is a legal document in which an individual records their wishes as to how their possessions and affairs should be handled after their death.
Personal Representative
Someone recognized as the representative of another party or his or her interests.
Revocable Trust
A written document that determines how assets will be handled after someone passes away. What sets a revocable living trust apart is that the provisions can changed or canceled at any time. Hence, the term “revocable” in its name.
A settlor is the person or entity that creates a trust.
Successor Trustee
Someone who takes over a trust when the original trustee can no longer manage the trust.