Estate: This refers to the entire property and assets owned by a person before it is distributed by a Will, a trust or by contract (such as a life insurance policy). The estate can also include the liabilities of the person.
Property: Property is anything that you own. It can be categorized into real property or personal property. While real estate includes land, permanent structures or minerals, personal property can be anything other than the real estate. Automobiles, bank accounts, investment accounts, cash, household items, jewelry and insurance policies come under personal property.
Grantor: A person who is transferring his/her property to another party via a trust is called a grantor.
Beneficiary: The person who is inheriting property from a grantor is the beneficiary.
Trustee: This is the person who manages property on the behalf of beneficiaries named in a trust. A trustee strives to work towards the benefit of the beneficiaries, keeping in mind the instructions given in the trust document.
Successor Trustee: A person who can take over the duties of an original trustee whenever the latter is unable to handle his or her responsibilities properly. Usually, the circumstances under which the successor trustee can assume responsibility are defined in the terms of the trust.
Probate: This is a legal process that a court uses to identify the assets which you owned, your rightful heirs and the extent of their share in your property if you die with any property titled solely in your name. This process is also used to transfer the title of the property from your name to that of your heirs. This process may be expensive and can take a lot of time to be completed.
Estate Transfer: This is a process through which you can legally transfer your property to another person. You can either undertake the property transfer during your lifetime in the form of a gift or sale or you could direct that it to be handed over after your death.