Glossary of terms

Annuity: Payment of a fixed sum of money to a specified person at regular, periodic intervals. A joint annuity is paid to the two named persons (annuitants), but ceases on the death of the first person. A joint and survivorship annuity continues to the survivor. TOP

Case Management: Professional assistance in obtaining and coordinating personal and health services which might include in-home care, counseling, transportation, and residential care options. TOP

Capacity: Ability to understand the nature and effect’s of one’s acts. TOP

Community Property: Property acquired during the marriage by husband and wife except by gift or inheritance; each spouse has an undivided one-half interest. TOP

Conservator: A person appointed by a court to manage the estate of a protected person. TOP

Directive to Physicians: A document which under specified conditions instructs your doctor not to use medical technology to preserve your life artificially. TOP

Estate: The whole of the property owned by an individual. TOP

Guardian: A person legally appointed to supervise the affairs of another. TOP

Home Equity Conversion: An option allowing homeowners to convert equity into cash while retaining certain ownership rights. TOP

In-Home Supportive Services: A housekeeping and personal care program for which SSI and Medical recipients may qualify. Its. Purpose is to help keep the aged and disabled out of nursing homes. TOP

Intestate: Without a will. To die “intestate” means to die without a will. TOP

IRA: An Individual Retirement Account. A means to establish a tax-deferred savings plan for retirement (subject to current changes in tax codes). TOP

Life Insurance: Whole life insurance provides coverage for life at a fixed level of premiums and accumulates cash and loan values. Term life insurance provides coverage for a fixed number of years and usually does not accumulate cash value. TOP

Living Will: A document in which an individual declares his o her intentions regarding life-sustaining treatment in case of terminal illness. TOP

Medical (Medicaid): A state-administered federal health program which provides for medical assistance to the aged, blind, disabled and to indigent families with children. Strict income eligibility restrictions apply. TOP

Medicare: The federal health insurance program for those aged 65 and older who qualify for Social Security. Medicare Part A covers institutional care. Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, and is available for an additional monthly premium. TOP

Medigap Insurance: Private insurance secured to cover medical expenses not reimbursed under Medicare. TOP

Pension: A fixed sum paid regularly to a person following his or her retirement. Decisions made by the employee can influence the type and amount of benefits to be received. TOP

Power of Attorney: A document authorizing one person (the agent) to act on behalf of another (the principal). A power of attorney is durable when it specifically states that it will continue to be effective in the event of the principals’ disability. TOP

Probate: The court procedure whereby a will is established as authentic (if there is a will), the deceased person’s debts and taxes are paid, and property distributed. TOP

Representative Payee: A person appointed to receive benefit payments for a person who is physically or mentally unable to manage his or her own funds. TOP

Social Security: A social insurance program funded by employee/employer taxes. TOP

Spend Down: The process of reducing personal assets until the individual meets the income qualifications necessary to receive public benefits, particularly Medical and SSI. TOP

SSI: Supplemental Security Income. A federal program that guarantees a national minimum income level for the aged, blind and disabled.TOP

Tenancy in Common: the type of ownership in which each person has an undivided interest in the whole property which may be passed by one owner to another party without consent from the other owner. TOP

Trust: A legal arrangement in which the trust maker (trustor) transfers assets to a second person (trustee) to be managed for the benefit of a third person (beneficiary). A trust established and operating during the trustor’s lifetime is and Inter Vivos or living trust. A trust that becomes operative after the trustor’s death is a testamentary trust. TOP

Will: A legal document in which a person provides for the distribution of his/her property after death. TOP


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