Estate Planning has its own vocabulary. To help you speak the language, we've created a glossary of the more commonly used words and phrases. This glossary is comprised of 26 individual pages, one for each letter of the alphabet. To find a particular word or phrase that starts with the letter "E" - simply scroll down the list below. If your word or phrase starts with another letter, please use the alphabet index below.
The word "emancipate" means to free from bondage, oppression, or restraint; liberate. In Law, the word "emancipate" means to release a child from the control of parents or a guardian. When a minor child is emancipated, that child is deemed to be an adult for all legal purposes. An emancipated child is able to make legal decisions, enter into legally binding contracts, and perform all other acts generally associated with the rights of adults. Most states, however, will impose very strict requirements regarding emancipation. Most require that a minor be at least 16 years of age and must demonstrate the ability to support him or herself.
The term "escheat" refers to a doctrine of common law that seeks to insure that property is not without a rightful owner.
The term originally applied to real property in feudal England when legal ownership was lost for one reason or another. In that case, ownership of the land reverted or "escheated" to the immediately superior feudal lord. Today, the term is largely confined to the transfer of a person's property to the state when the person dies intestate without any other person capable of taking the property as an heir. For example, most states provide that when someone dies without a will (i.e., "intestate"), and is not survived by a spouse, or descendants, or parents, or grandparents, or descendants of grandparents, then that person's estate will escheat to the state. For a description of each state's intestacy laws, including its laws regarding the escheat of property upon death, click here.
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