Estate Planning 101

Commonly Used Estate Planning Terms

 Please note that we have listed a generalized definition for your reference. If you have specific questions about these terms, feel free to ask us!

Attorney in Fact – the individual who, acting on your behalf, handles your financial and/or medical affairs under a legal document called a Power of Attorney or Advance

Healthcare Directive Beneficiary – the person who is entitled to benefits under a Will, a Trust, or other document that designates a beneficiary

Estate - you and your stuff

Estate Planning - the design that immortalizes your goals for the protection and preservation of your estate

Executor of the Will – the person who, under the supervision of the probate court, carries out your wishes as outlined in your Will

Probate – a legal process that ensures once you die, your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to your Will under the guidance of the probate court

Settlor - the person who establishes a trust (also referred to as a Trustor or Grantor)

Successor Trustee – the person appointed to administer the Trust after the initial trustee dies or is incapacitated

Trust Administration - the process of carrying out the terms of the Trust in accordance with the provisions of the Trust and federal and state law

Trustee – the person who administers the Trust to best carry out the purpose and directions of the Trust

Trust – a legal document that contains instructions for handling your affairs during your lifetime or incapacity and distributes your estate upon your death

Will – a prepared legal document that specifies who is to receive your financial resources after your death. If you have minor children, a Will also designates the people who will be responsible for the care of your minor children after your death


The Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C. has a team dedicated to successfully prepare your LifePlan™. Below are the services we provide to ensure We Preserve What You Own, To Protect What You Value.

 Legal Services- The legal services department handles all matters in Funding, Medicaid, Probate, Trust Administration, Guardianships, Special Needs and Future Care Planning.

Medicaid Qualification - Handles preparation, submission and interview with the Department of Social Services to provide required information and respond to inquiries related to both institutional and community Medicaid.  This department also answers questions regarding Medicaid applications in progress and the status of same.

Probate Handling all matters related to the submission of Will to Surrogate’s Court, Appointment of Executor and administration of the estate.

Trust Administration - Redistribution of trust assets after the death of the grantor to establish post death trusts.

Special Needs/Guardianship/Future Care Planning – handles questions and planning concerns for disabled and/or incompetent individuals regarding their current and future needs.

Estate Planning Services- Counsel clients on the identification, design and signing of individual client estate plans.  Any legal/technical questions or questions regarding the design or signing of client estate plans are handled in this department.

Traditional Planning – Handling all matters regarding Wills, Health Care Proxies, Living Wills, Power of Attorneys, Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts.

Modern Planning – Handling all matters specific to single people, unmarried couples, blended families, same sex couples, and planning for pets.

Medicaid Pre-Planning (Nursing Home) – Handling all issues pertaining to protection of assets from Nursing Homes and ensure eligibility for Medicaid if needed.

Modern Asset Protection Planning – Handling all matters relating to protection of assets from the Government, Taxes, Lawsuits, and Nursing Homes, divorce, bad business ventures and predators.

Business Succession Planning – Handling all issues pertaining to the protection of business interests and ensure effective plan in place to continue business if unanticipated incapacity or death of principal. 

Advanced Tax Planning – Handling all matters concerning potentially large income or estate taxes.  State of the art strategies that permit individuals to minimize taxes but maintains control and financial security.

Agency and Advisor Services - All questions for our legal team from Attorneys, CPA’s, financial advisors, insurance agents, banks and other professionals are handled by this department, including scheduling meetings with attorneys, private client workshops and in-house professional educational programs. All questions for our legal team from agencies and Long Term Care facilities are handled by this department, including in-house educational programs, private resident consultations and facility assistance with coordination of services provided by other agencies.

Client Services - The primary responsibility of this department is to ensure the client needs are being met from the first contact with our firm and through each law firm process (Estate Planning, Medicaid Qualification, Probate, Trust Administration, Guardianship, and Future Care Planning) to see the client proceeds efficiently to timely completion of the work.  You should contact the client services to schedule yourself or a client into an upcoming workshop or to inquire of any upcoming client meetings.

Drafting Department - Is responsible for drafting all trusts, health care proxies, powers of attorney, and wills. Changes to those documents or any questions on drafting can be handled directly by the drafting department.


For more answers to your questions contact us today!

616.361.8400 or 1.888.GO.DAVID   (1.888.463.2843)