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What You Need to Know About Estates

Posted on April 2nd, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

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Is it time to start thinking about your estate plan? As you think about wills, trusts, and other estate planning tools, you may find yourself asking what constitutes an estate. Most people know what an estate is, but you may not be as familiar with the legal definition. Normally when you think of an estate, you may think of a home and the land that it is on, along with the assets in it. Here is what you need to know about an estate and why you should have an estate plan.

What Is an Estate?

In legal terms, an estate refers to everything of value that you own. This could refer to your property, your art collection, your investments, insurance, and any other assets or benefits that you have. The estate is what contributes to your net worth. To find the worth of your estate, you need to calculate the total worth of your assets and then subtract any liabilities.

Normally, you have your estate valued only for two different reasons. The first reason is if you ever file for bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy, then you assess your estate to determine what debts you can pay off and if you need to have some debt discharged. The other reason is when you work on your estate plan. Estate plans are important and you should work on your estate plan several times throughout your life, especially after major milestones.

How Can You Manage Estates?

When someone passes away, most estates are split between family members. The idea is to pass down wealth from one generation to the next generation. Inheritance accounts, for instance, are very popular in the United states. This is not necessarily the only reason to manage an estate, of course. Everyone has an estate and should have some kind of estate plan in place.

Estate planning is something that every adult should think about. You need to have a clear plan for what will happen to your assets after you pass away. If you don’t, your family could have legal disputes, have to deal with probate, or the uncertainty of where you wanted your assets to be distributed. Estate planning provides you with the means to take care of your family and loved ones after you pass. To work on your estate plan, set up a consultation with an estate planning lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer today.

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