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Related to Estate: estate tax, Estate planning, Probate estate


The assets that a person owns when he/she dies. The estate includes all personal property, real estate, securities and other assets. The estate is used to repay all of the person's outstanding debt. After debts are repaid, the estate may be taxed, depending on the value of the remaining assets. After all debts and taxes are repaid, the estate is distributed according to the provisions of the decedent's will and/or state law.


The assets owned by a person at the time of death. See also gross estate.


Your estate is what you leave behind, financially speaking, when you die. To figure its worth, your assets are valued to determine your gross estate.

The assets may include cash, investments, retirement accounts, business interests, real estate, precious objects and antiques, and personal effects.

Then all your outstanding debts, which may include income taxes, loans, or other obligations, are paid, and those plus any costs of settling the estate are subtracted from the gross estate.

If the amount that's left is larger than the amount you can leave to your heirs tax free, you have a taxable estate, and federal estate taxes may be due. Depending on the state where you live and the size of your taxable estate, there may be additional state taxes as well.

After any taxes that may be due are paid, what remains is distributed among your heirs according to the terms of your will, the terms of any trusts you established, and the beneficiaries you named on certain accounts -- or the rulings of a court, if you didn't leave a will.


(1) All the property of a person who has died. (2) The degree,quantity,nature,and extent of legal interest that a person has in real and personal property.The most common estates are

1. In fee simple absolute. This is the greatest degree of ownership possible, in which a per- son owns all rights to a property and may freely dispose of them to purchasers or heirs.

2. At sufferance. In this type of estate a tenant continues to retain possession past the expi- ration of the lease.

3. At will. A tenant is put into possession by the owner of land, but the possession may be terminated at the will of the owner.

4. By the entirety. This is a joint estate held by two persons who are married to each other at the time of creation and which cannot be destroyed by either one of them or by the credi- tors of the other. In some states, a divorce court may not even divide the property, but the parties must agree on its disposition.

5. For life. In this estate, someone has an interest in property that lasts only as long as some life named or described in the granting instrument.

6. For years. This is typically a lease.

7. In remainder. In this type of estate a person takes property after the death of a person with a defining life in a life estate.

8. In reversion. That portion of an estate that remains in a grantor who transfers less than full ownership of a property. For example, if the owner of property transfers a life estate to another, the owner retains an estate in reversion and will regain full ownership when the life tenancy ends. If that future interest were also transferred to another, it would be called a remainder, but since it is retained by the grantor it is called a reversion.

9. In severalty. This term can be confusing, because it means the opposite of our common understanding of the word “several.” An estate in severalty is an estate owned by one person, alone.


This term is most commonly used for a taxable entity that is established upon the death of a taxpayer. It consists of all the decedent's property and personal effects. The estate exists until the final distribution of its assets to the heirs and other beneficiaries. During the period of administration, the executor must usually file a return. An estate is also created when a taxpayer files bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or CHapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.
References in classic literature ?
This has been a single estate for hundreds and hundreds of years, and if you or any meddlesome mountebank comes here and talks of cutting it up like a cake, if I ever hear a word more of you and your leveling lies--"
What will happen if I try to divide this estate decently among decent people?
A bankruptcy company promoter named Werner discovered the secret and blackmailed the squire into surrendering the estate.
As eldest son, Philip succeeded to the estate, If he died without leaving a son, the property went to the second brother, Frederick; and if Frederick died also without leaving a son, the property went to the third brother, Arthur.
Philip Fairlie died leaving an only daughter, the Laura of this story, and the estate, in consequence, went, in course of law, to the second brother, Frederick, a single man.
If she died single, or died childless, the estate would revert to her cousin, Magdalen, the daughter of Mr.
However, she listened very willingly to my offer of advice; so I told her that the first thing she ought to do was a piece of justice to herself, namely, that whereas she had been told by several people that he had reported among the ladies that he had left her, and pretended to give the advantage of the negative to himself, she should take care to have it well spread among the women--which she could not fail of an opportunity to do in a neighbourhood so addicted to family news as that she live in was--that she had inquired into his circumstances, and found he was not the man as to estate he pretended to be.
In short, he left himself no room to ask any more questions about her estate, and she took the advantage of it like a prudent woman, for she placed part of her fortune so in trustees, without letting him know anything of it, that it was quite out of his reach, and made him be very well content with the rest.
He began from this discourse to let me voluntarily into all his affairs, and to tell me in a frank, open way all his circumstances, by which I found he was very well to pass in the world; but that great part of his estate consisted of three plantations, which he had in Virginia, which brought him in a very good income, generally speaking, to the tune of #300, a year, but that if he was to live upon them, would bring him in four times as much.
A week later, Pierre, having taken leave of his new friends, the Masons, and leaving large sums of money with them for alms, went away to his estates.
I choose to give the Tredowen estates away, to disappoint my next of kin.
Life may easily become a more complicated affair for that child with the Tredowen estates hanging round her neck.