When dealing with the processes of planning after a death, there are some common terms you should be familiar with:
- WILL: A WILL is a legal document outlining how a person (TESTATOR) would like the remains of their ESTATE divided between beneficiaries.
- BENEFICIARY: A person or group named in a will to receive a gift or benefit from the estate of the testator after the testator dies.
- DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY ASSET: A type of asset that is allowed by law to pass directly to a named beneficiary without probate, such as life insurance and RRSP’s or a family ring.
- ESTATE: All of the assets and valuables owned by a person in their name only at death. An Estate for tax purposes generally is created if the value of the Estate is over $10,000. Managing Your Estate
- PROBATE: The process of proving that a will is the true last will of a deceased. Also the name of the fee applied to the value of an estate that must be paid to the courts to get a certificate which is used to unfreeze assets to prepare for distribution.
- EXECUTOR/TRIX (SOLE)/PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE: The person(s) named in a will to handle the Estate of the testator at death.
- JOINT EXECUTORS/TRESSES/PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE: A person named in a will to act as executors along with someone else.
- ADMINISTRATOR: A court appointed person to look after the estate of someone who dies without a will. Must be applied for and then appointed. Basically an executor position.
- JOINT TENANCY: Joint ownership of an asset with rights of survivorship.
- RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP: The right of a joint owner of an asset to receive that asset automatically on the death of the other joint owner.
- PERSONAL DIRECTIVE: A PD is a legal document completed by a person to nominate an Agent to act on their pre-decided end of life decisions. The agent will make health decisions in case of mental incapacitation due to illness or injury, including end of life decisions such as living on machines or Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID).
- POWER OF ATTORNEY: A POA is the legal appointment naming a person to have authority to act on your behalf in certain financial and legal matters, should you become incapable of dealing with these matters yourself. This appointment ends at death of the appointer.
- ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY: An enduring POA is the legal appointment giving a person authority to act on your behalf on more detailed financial and legal matters should you become incapable of dealing with these matters yourself. This appointment ENDS AFTER death of the appointer. Understanding the actual definition of some of the terms used in the days, weeks and months following a death helps immensely in knowing who to talk to and when.