• AD:

    The acronym for advance directive.

  • administrator:

    A person legally appointed to manage and dispose of the estate of an intestate, deceased person, debtor, or other individual, or of an insolvent company.

  • advance directive (AD or AHD):

    A written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment to ensure those wishes are carried out if the person becomes unable to communicate them to a doctor. Also known as advance health care directive.

  • affidavit:

    A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation for use as evidence in a court of law.

  • aftercare:

    When used in the context of a death, the care for the survivors.

  • aging in place:

    The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.

  • AHD:

    The acronym advance health care directive.

  • appraisal services:

    A company or service used to provide a value

  • asset:

    Property deemed to have value owned by a person or business.

  • asset protection:

    A financial planning strategy intended to protect one’s assets from creditor claims.

  • assisted living community:

    Residences with professional staff designed for seniors who may need additional help with everyday tasks.

  • beneficiary:

    A person who derives advantage from something, especially a trust, will, or life insurance policy.

  • care management:

    The range of activities intended to improve patient care and reduce the need for medical services by helping patients and caregivers more effectively manage health conditions.

  • CCRC:

    Acronym for continuing care retirement community.

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

    A federal agency that administers the Medicare program and works with states to administer the Medicaid program.

  • CMS:

    Acronym for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • codicil:

    A testamentary or supplementary document similar to a will.

  • community property:

    The combined property that spouses or domestic partners own together. Community property states divide assets and debts equally between the partners.

  • conservatee:

    A person under conservatorship.

  • conservatorship:

    A guardian or a protector appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age.

  • continuing care retirement community (CCRC):

    A long-term care option for older people who want to stay in the same place through different phases of the aging process.

  • cremation:

    A method of final disposition of a dead body through burning.

  • custodial:

    Relating to having responsibility for another person.

  • death benefit:

    A payout to a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or other financial vehicle when the insured dies.

  • death café:

    A not-for-profit organization-led meeting where people gather to socialize and discuss death.

  • death care:

    Relating to or providing products or services for the burial or cremation of the dead.

  • death care professional:

    A person who provides death care advice based on formal training.

  • death certificate:

    The legal death declaration document that includes personal decedent information and cause of death.

  • decedent:

    A person who has died.

  • deed:

    A legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest, right or property that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions, sealed. Also known as a title.

  • digital assets:

    Anything that exists in a digital format and their associated value that comes with the right to use.

  • digital property:

    Electronic information someone either creates or owns.

  • disaster death:

    Death caused by a disaster (typically a natural disaster like earthquakes, floods, etc.)

  • DPOA:

    Acronym for durable power of attorney.

  • durable power of attorney (DPOA):

    Refers to a power of attorney that remains in effect until the death of the principal or the document is revoked.

  • EHR:

    Acronym for electronic health record.

  • EIN:

    Acronym for Employment Identification Number.

  • elder care planning:

    A comprehensive strategy that helps define a senior’s wishes and assists designated caregivers in handling the physical, personal, and financial affairs of a senior aging into the last phases of life.

  • elder law:

    An area of legal practice that specializes in issues that affect the aging population.

  • electronic health record (EHR):

    A digital version of a patient’s paper chart which is in real-time.

  • employee benefits:

    Non-wage compensation to employees. Companies may provide monetary death benefits to survivors.

  • Employment Identification Number (EIN):

    An IRS form sometimes required for managing an estate after a death.

  • escheat:

    The ownership transfer of unclaimed assets or property to the state, typically when there are no heirs or a will.

  • estate:

    The totality of a person’s assets minus liabilities including miscellaneous belongings.

  • estate administration:

    The process of collecting information and managing an estate.

  • estate administrator:

    A legal term referring to a person appointed by a court to administer the estate of a deceased person who left no will.

  • estate planning:

    The process of arranging the management and disposal of a person’s estate during the person’s life and after death, while minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax.

  • estate sale:

    An event where belongings from a residence or estate are sold. Also known as a tag sale.

  • executor/executrix:

    A person responsible for carrying out the decedent’s wishes as described in their will.

  • executor bond:

    A type of probate or fiduciary bond ensuring decedent’s estates are handled appropriately.

  • Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS):

    The retirement system for United States civil service employees. Effective January 1, 1987, it replaced the the Civil Service Retirement System to conform federal retirement plans in line with those in the private sector.

  • FERS:

    Acronym for Federal Employees Retirement System.

  • fiduciary:

    A person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties. Typically, a fiduciary manages money or other assets for another person.

  • financial planner/advisor:

    A person who is employed to provide financial services or guidance to clients.

  • FRA:

    Acronym for full retirement age.

  • full retirement age (FRA):

    The age at which beneficiaries can claim their full Social Security retirement benefits.

  • funeral director:

    A licensed professional responsible for arranging all aspects of the funeral service.

  • funeral home:

    A licensed establishment where the dead are prepared for burial or cremation.

  • funeral planner:

    A person who helps someone plan their own funeral.

  • Grandfamily:

    The family consisting of a grandparent or other family member(s) who care for child(ren) in place of parent who is unable to care for child(ren).

  • guardianship:

    The position of legal responsibility for the care of someone who is unable to manage their own affairs.

  • HCP:

    Acronym for health care proxy.

  • health care professional:

    A person who provides health care treatment and advice based on formal training.

  • health care proxy (HCP):

    A legal document which appoints an agent to make health care decisions on behalf of a patient when the patient is incapable of making decisions.

  • heir:

    A person legally entitled to the property of another upon that person’s death.

  • heirship:

    The laws that dictate the order of inheritance if the decedent dies without a will or trust. An example is: first in line to inherit are descendants; next in line are parents; then grandparents or potentially siblings. States vary in the heirship rules.

  • HIPAA:

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed by Congress in 1996. It protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s knowledge or consent.

  • home health care:

    A wide range of health services provided in the home by a medical professional.

  • home meal services:

    A service company that provides and delivers meals to individuals at home. An example is Meals on Wheels, there are various companies that provide meals delivered to the residence.

  • hospice care:

    A type of health care that focuses on attending to the dying in an effort to prioritize comfort and quality of life by reducing pain. Hospice is typically for those whose death is imminent within six months (this may vary by hospice organization).

  • intestate:

    A person who died without a will.

  • irrevocable trust:

    A type of trust that cannot be modified without the permission of the beneficiary.

  • joint tenancy with right of survivorship:

    A legal ownership structure involving two or more parties for an account or another asset. Ownership of property shared equally in life is given ownership of decedent’s co-owner’s share.

  • legatee:

    A person who receives a legacy.

  • letter of last instruction:

    An estate planning document where the person outlines instructions to be followed after their death.

  • letter of testamentary:

    A legal document which gives an executor the authority to formally act on behalf of the decedent.

  • LI:

    Acronym for life insurance.

  • life insurance (LI):

    A contract between a policy holder and an insurer where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money upon the policy holder’s death.

  • litigation:

    The process of taking legal action.

  • long-term care insurance (LTC):

    A contract between a policyholder and an insurer where the insurer guarantees payment of long-term medical health benefits.

  • LTC:

    Acronym for long-term care insurance.

  • Meals on Wheels:

    A national community-based program dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger by delivering meals to those in need.

  • mediation:

    An intervention, many times with a third party, in a dispute in order to resolve it.

  • medical equipment/devices:

    Any equipment or device intended for medical purposes which improves quality of life. Examples are wheelchair, hearing aid, hospital bed, walker, etc.

  • memory care:

    Specialized care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Also known as Alzheimer’s care.

  • next of kin (NoK):

    A person’s closest living relative, including spouses and adopted family members.

  • NMT:

    Acronym for nonmedical transportation.

  • NoK:

    Acronym for next of kin.

  • nonmedical transportation (NMT):

    Transportation services for people who need assistance getting to and from medical appointments.

  • OASI:

    Acronym for Old-Age Survivors Insurance.

  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM):

    An independent agency of the United States Federal Government that manages the US civilian service.

  • Old-Age Survivors Insurance (OASI):

    The fund used to provide Social Security benefits.

  • OPM:

    Acronym for Office of Personnel Management.

  • palliative care:

    The treatment of pain care that begins at diagnosis of a disease or dire medical condition.

  • payable on death (POD):

    The immediate transfer of assets triggered by death of the asset owner.

  • PCA:

    Acronym for personal care assistant or attendant.

  • personal care assistant or attendant (PCA):

    A professional who is paid to help with personal care to their clients. Duties vary by assistant or attendant.

  • personally identifiable information (PII):

    Information that, when used alone or with other relevant data, can identify an individual. For example: passport information, race, date of birth, etc.

  • personal representative (PR):

    A court or will-appointed person who administers the decedent’s estate.

  • PII:

    Acronym for personally identifiable information.

  • POA:

    Acronym for power of attorney.

  • POD:

    Acronym for payable on death.

  • power of attorney (POA):

    A legal document giving someone authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf.

  • PR:

    Acronym for personal representative.

  • preneed:

    Arrangements for the details of a funeral that are planned before a death which may or may not include advance payment.

  • probate:

    The legal process where a will is proven in a court of law and accepted as a valid document to settle an estate.

  • professional organizer:

    A person who is employed to provide practical organizational services.

  • proxy:

    The authority to represent another due to their absence.

  • public administrator:

    The government official responsible for distributing estates of residents who died without a will or, if there is a will, there is no executor.

  • respite care:

    Planned or emergency temporary care provided to caregivers so the caregivers can take a break.

  • responsible party-EIN:

    The contact person’s title on the EIN for the IRS.

  • reverse mortgage:

    A mortgage loan secured by residential property that enables the borrower to access the value of the property.

  • revocable trust:

    A trust that may be revoked or changed.

  • right of survivorship:

    When jointly owned property includes a right of survivorship, the surviving owner automatically takes on the decedent’s owners share of the property.

  • right to die:

    The right to refuse extraordinary measures intended to extend life when a person is terminally ill or in a coma.

  • small estate:

    The amount of assets considered to fall below probate criteria which varies by state.

  • Social Security Administration (SSA):

    The United States independent agency that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):

    The disability category of the US independent agency that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.

  • SSA:

    Acronym for Social Security Administration.

  • SSDI:

    Acronym for Social Security Disability Insurance.

  • title:

    A legal instrument in writing which passes, affirms or confirms an interest, right or property that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions, sealed. Also known as a deed.

  • TOD:

    Acronym for transfer on death.

  • transfer on death (TOD):

    A deed that allows an asset owner to transfer the title of their property to a named beneficiary upon the owner’s death.

  • trust administration:

    The process where a named successor administers and distributes the trust instructions to the beneficiaries.

  • VA:

    Acronym for Veterans Affairs.

  • VCF:

    Acronym for victim compensation funds.

  • Veterans Affairs (VA):

    The United States executive branch department that provides health care services to eligible military veterans.

  • victim compensation fund (VCF):

    A direct financial reimbursement to a victim for an expense that resulted from a crime.

  • vital statistics:

    Information relating to a person’s birth place and date, marriages, health, diseases, place and date of death, and other personal information.

  • will:

    A legal document that expresses a person’s wishes as to how their property is to be distributed after their death.