What is an Estate? A Simple Overview

An estate is the assets that you own, and the liabilities that you owe at your death. That sounds pretty straightforward – and it is, in theory.

Let’s think about assets first:

Assets include real property, chattels, shares, investments, and it also includes loans you given to others, liens you have or mortgages you have taken over the property of others and so on.
Assets can be owned by you, or can be owned jointly or as tenants in common with others.

Then there are liabilities:

Liabilities are what you owe, mortgages on your property or vehicles, loans you have received from others, credit cards, invoices for services rendered, and so on.
And if you have a company – how does it figure into things? (Hint – you are NOT your company!)

Back to estates:

When your Executor(s) administers your estate, they have to figure out what you owned when you passed away, how you held that property (who you owned the property with, etc.) and what you owed.
Your executor must pay any debts you owed, including funeral and burial/cremation costs and must give the beneficiaries the gifts you have given in accordance with the terms of your will. Of course, sometimes there is a shortfall and the beneficiaries do not receive the full amount gifted, or sometimes an item gifted was sold or given away in the deceased’s lifetime.

Even when you try to keep it simple, estates can easily get complicated!

So, if you are attempting to administer an estate on your own and you have come upon some complications – why don’t you call McLaughlins Estate Lawyers?

We’re here to help.