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All professions have a lingo all their own, and that is especially true in the practice of law. Latin, German and French all contribute to an amazing list of terms that roll of the tongues of estate planning attorneys, but cause blank stares and confusion among everyday folks. That is why my firm web site has a glossary of estate planning and probate terms; one role of lawyer is to educate. The three that jump out at me are:
- Codicil -- a fancy word for amendment to a will. Someone creates one of these when s/he already has a will, but wants to make a minor change. For example, change the guardian named for children or the name of a charity. Just like a will, a codicil must be executed to meet State law requirements;
- Issue -- as the mother of two young children, I feel this word has a double meaning. Technically it refers to your offspring a.k.a. children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. You can fill in the side I refer to as a double meaning....kids and the word issue!; and
- T.P.P. -- these three letters refer to the phrase Tangible Personal Property. Things like wedding rings, the family Bible, hunting rifles, Grandma's rocking chair, etc. Instead of listing all that stuff, probate attorneys call it TPP.
I'm certain there are many more words out there that cause confusion, did I miss one for you? If so, please leave a comment and I'll address it in a future post. Thanks for reading, and remember, a blog is not a lawyer. It is wise to consult an attorney for advice specific to your state and your situation.