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Glossary of Terms

Administrator:
A party named by a court who is responsible for settling the estate of a decedent who did not leave a valid will.

Beneficiary:
The party who receives the proceeds from a transaction, such as a letter of credit, insurance policy or trust.

Custodian:
A bank, individual, or other party named by a court to manage the property of a minor or incapacitated person.

Custody:
A banking service that provides safekeeping for a customer's securities under written agreement and also provides for the bank to collect and pay out income and to buy, sell, receive, and deliver securities when ordered to do so by the customer.

Decedent:
A person who has died.

Escrow:
The holding of funds, documents, securities or other property by an impartial, trusted third party for the other participants in a business transaction. When the transaction is completed, the escrow agent releases the entrusted property.

Executor:
A party named in a decedent's valid will and made responsible for settling the estate. Executors must be qualified by a court before they can act. In Missouri, the executor is called a personal representative.

Fiduciary:
An individual or trust institution charged with the duty of acting for the benefit of another party or parties on matters within the scope of the relationship between them. Examples of fiduciary relationships include: a guardian and ward, an agent and principal, an attorney and client, one partner and another partner, a trustee and beneficiary.

Grantor:
The creator of a trust.

Guardian:
An individual or other party named by a court to manage the personal and health care needs of a minor or incapacitated person.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA):
A tax-deferred retirement plan that may be established through trust or custodial accounts at banks and under certain circumstances may be tax-deductible. The amount of funds deposited in an IRA are subject to annual limitations and generally may not be withdrawn without financial penalties until the individual is at least 59 ½ years of age.

Intestate:
A decedent who has not left a valid will or left no will at all.

Irrevocable:
A trust whose terms generally cannot be revoked or revised. Also used to describe a type of letter of credit that cannot be canceled or modified, except by full mutual agreement between the parties.

Keogh Plan:
A tax-deductible and tax-deferred retirement plan for self-employed persons. Maximum annual contribution to this plan is $30,000 or 15 percent of an individual's earned income.

Living Trust:
A trust fund that becomes effective during the lifetime of the creator of the trust. The creator of the trust may also be the beneficiary and the initial Trustee.  A successor trustee should always be named to serve.

Personal Representative:
A party named in a decedent’s valid will and made responsible for settling the estate. Personal Representatives must be qualified by a court before they can act. Also sometimes called “executor.”

Power of Attorney:
A legal document by which one party is authorized to act on behalf of another party.

Probate:
The proceeding by a court in which the validity and construction of a will are determined. The term is also used to describe the process of administering the estate.

Revocable:
A trust agreement that can be changed or amended by the grantor. Also refers to a letter of credit document which may be canceled or amended by either party without the approval of the other.

Testate:
An individual who has died leaving a valid will.

Trust:
An arrangement by which an individual or a corporation as trustee holds the title to property for the benefit of one or more persons (beneficiaries), usually under the terms of a will or a written agreement.

Trust Company:
A corporation chartered by the state or federal government to engage in the trust business, serving both individuals and business organizations. It may or may not perform banking functions as well, depending on the powers granted in its charter.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act:
Legislation that provides the legal procedures and responsibilities for individuals to make irrevocable gifts of money or other property to underage beneficiaries, where a custodian holds and manages the property until the custodianship terminates (usually when the beneficiary reaches a certain age).

Will:
A written, legal document that declares an individual's wishes as to how his property or estate should be disposed of after his death.