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Trusts & Estates Glossary: E

EMERGENCY PROVISION:
The provision of a Will or trust agreement that empowers the trustee to pay over or apply principal or accumulated income to meet emergencies in the life of the beneficiary due to illness, accident, or other unforeseeable events.

EMINENT DOMAIN:
The inherent sovereign power of the state over all the private property within its borders which enables it to appropriate all or any part of the property to a necessary public use by makin8 reasonable compensation. This power is known as the right of eminent domain.

EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN:
A plan established or maintained by an employer or employee organization, or both, for the purpose of providing employees a certain benefit, such as pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, thrift, medical, sickness, accident, or disability benefits.

EMPLOYEES TRUST OR EMPLOYEE BENEFIT TRUST:
A trust established to hold the assets of an employee benefit plan.

ENCUMBRANCE:
Any right to or interest in real property which lowers its value but does not prevent its transfer, subject to the encumbrance.

ENDORSEMENT:
A writing—usually of the name of the payee—on the back of a negotiable instrument—such as a check or note—whereby the property represented by the instrument is transferred.

ENTITY:
That which exists as separate and complete in itself. For example, a corporation is a legal entity, separate and distinct from its stockholders.

EN VENTRE SA MERE:
"In mother’s womb"—a child conceived but not yet born.

EQUIPMENT TRUST:
A corporate trust established for the purpose of financing the purchase of equipment; commonly resorted to by railroads for the purchase of rolling stock.

EQUITABLE APPORTIONMENT:
A doctrine that requires the recipients of probate and non-probate assets to all pay their proportionate share of death taxes. This can be overridden by a tax clause in a Will or trust.

EQUITABLE CHARGE:
A charge on property imposed by and enforceable in a court of equity, as distinguished from a charge enforceable in a court of law. A conveyance of real property, absolute on its face but intended only as a security for a loan, may constitute an equitable charge on the property.

EQUITABLE OWNERSHIP:
The estate or interest of a person who has a beneficial right in property, the legal ownership of which is in another person. For example, a beneficiary of a trust has an equitable estate or interest in the trust property.

EQUITABLE TITLE:
A right to the benefits of property which is recognized by and enforceable only in a court of equity to be distinguished from legal title.

EQUITY:
A system of principles and rules developed to supplement and correct a system of law that had become too narrow and rigid in scope and application. Its characteristic is flexibility and its aim is the administration of justice.

ERISA:
An acronym for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which set up federal minimum standards for employee benefit plans, including standards regulating the conduct of plan fiduciaries and trustees. The Act also established an insurance program designed to guarantee workers receipt of pension benefits if their defined benefit pension plan should terminate.

ESTATE:
(1) The right title, or interest which a person has in any property; to be distinguished from the property itself which is the subject matter of the interest. (2) The property of a decedent.

ESTATE PLAN:
A definite plan for the administration and disposition of one’s property during one’s lifetime and at one’s death; usually set forth in a Will and one or more trust agreements.

ESTATE TAX:
A tax imposed on a decedent’s estate as such and not on the distributive shares of the estate or on the right to receive the shares; to be distinguished from an inheritance tax.

ESTATE TRUST:
A trust that is required to pay to a surviving spouse or accumulate all of its income, and whose property passes to the surviving spouse’s estate at his or her death. The estate trust will qualify for the marital deduction and will be treated as a separate taxpayer for income tax purposes.

ESTOPPEL:
The preclusion of a person from alleging in an action what is contrary to his previous action or admission, or that bars him from denying a misrepresentation of a fact when another person has acted upon that misrepresentation to his detriment. The person so precluded or barred is said to be estopped.

EXECUTOR:
An individual or a trust institution nominated in a Will and appointed by a court to settle the estate of the testator. If a woman, she is an executrix.

EXECUTOR DE BONIS NON:
The individual or corporation named in the Will to take over and complete the settlement of an estate in those cases in which the original executor, for one reason or another, has failed or been unable to do so. Unless the testator himself names such a successor executor, the court appoints an administrator de bonis non.

EXECUTOR DE SON TORT:
One who, without legal authority, assumes control of a decedent’s property as if he were executor and thereby makes himself responsible for what comes into his possession.