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Estate Planning And Probate Administration

Keeney Atkins Law > Estate Planning And Probate Administration

The attorneys at Keeney Atkins Law understand nothing is more important to you than your family. Planning your estate to ease your loved ones’ burdens when you die is one of the most caring gifts you can leave.

At Keeney Atkins Law we work with you to devise the best plan for your circumstances. Regardless of your age, the size of your family, or the extent of your estate, our firm can advise you on the estate plan documents that you need for you and for your family.

When you have questions about:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Living wills

Let Keeney Atkins Law help you with all of your estate planning needs.


At the time of a loved one’s death, there is no reason to become overwhelmed with the legal challenges of settling an estate. During such an emotional time it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the entire process, from petitioning the court to open the estate through the closing and settling of the estate. While the probate process may appear intimidating and confusing, understanding certain terms may clarify some of the confusion.

Advance Health Care Directive – A written document in which you (the principal) designates another person (the agent) to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.  You may also direct which decisions should be made in certain medical situations.  This is sometimes referred to as a “Living Will.”

Beneficiary – A person for whose benefit an estate plan is created.

Conservator – A person who has been appointed by the Court to make financial decisions for an incapacitated adult.

Conservatorship – A court proceeding to appoint a conservator to oversee the financial needs of an incapacitated person.

Estate Taxes – The taxes imposed by the federal government on the transfer of assets at death if the assets exceed a certain amount. The estate tax applies to those estates valued at $5.43 million dollars or more in 2015.

Executor – (If female, “Executrix”) – The person who is appointed in a will to take care of settling the estate (also referred to as the “personal representative” of the estate).

Fiduciary – The obligation to manage someone else’s assets in the same way a prudent person would manage his or her own assets.

Guardian – The person who has the legal duty to care for a person under a disability, which may be because of age or incompetence.

Heir – A person who inherits property.

Intestate – When a person dies without leaving a valid will or trust.

Issue – The lineal descendants of a person (e.g., children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.).

Joint Tenancy – A form of co-ownership of property by two or more parties.  When one party dies, his or her interest passes to the other co-owner (known as the “right of survivorship”).

Living Trust – A legal entity created by a person to own and manage his or her property.  The terms of the living trust agreement determine the use and disposition of the trust funds.

Power of Attorney – A written document in which a person (the principal) designates another person (the agent) to manage the principal’s financial affairs while the principal is living.

Probate – The legal proceeding through which the court supervises the process of transferring a deceased person’s assets to the persons or entities entitled to receive them.

Revocable Living Trust – A living trust that can be changed or dissolved (revoked).  This differs from an Irrevocable Living Trust, which is one that cannot be changed or dissolved.

Testator – (If female, “Testatrix”) – A person who makes a will.

Trustee – The person or entity that is responsible for managing and distributing money and other property held by a trust.

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

Will – A written document that directs disposition of one’s assets after his or her death.

At Keeney Atkins Law, our attorneys assist our clients through the entire probate process, educating them along the way on the requirements and ensuring them that the proper assets are identified, reported and accounted.

We appreciate the trust and confidence you place in us at such a trying time, and we want you to know that we are here to assist in probating your loved one’s estate and to help alleviate the burden from you.