What is an estate?


The Internal Revenue Service defines an estate as all of the property and investments that a person has at the time of their death. An estate can include a home, vehicle, stocks and bonds, life insurance and cash. To determine the value of an estate, the IRS uses the fair market value of items rather than the value when the items were purchased.

In addition to the assets, all of the debts a person incurred before death and any applicable estate taxes pass to the responsibility of the estate, according to the IRS. These debts must be resolved before any part of the estate can be disbursed. Before a person dies, an estate plan can be created with the assistance of an attorney. According to the Colorado Bar Association, there are two different kinds of estate plans, will-based and trust-based. A will-based estate plan makes the will the official set of instructions as to how the estate should be settled and distributed. Before the estate can pay out or receive any funds, the will must go through probate to ensure validity and swear in the assigned executor, or personal representative. A trust-based estate, according to Fidelity Investments, can allow a third party to hold assets for beneficiaries and disperse the estate at a specified time in a specified way. Trusts may make assets available to beneficiaries faster than a will-based estate because they do not have to go through probate.

Q&A Related to "What is an estate?"
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1 Additional Answer
Ask.com Answer for: what is an estate
a piece of landed property, especially one of large extent with an elaborate house on it: to have an estate in the country.
British a housing development.
a period or condition of life: to attain to man's estate.
a major political or social group or class, especially one once having specific political powers, as the clergy, nobles, and commons in France or the lords spiritual, lords temporal, and commons in England.
condition or circumstances with reference to worldly prosperity, estimation, etc.; social status or rank.
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Source: Dictionary.com
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