Even though we may think that we do not have much, the little that we have in our name is all considered as part of our estate. An estate consists of all of the assets an individual owns or controls. It may be held in sole name, joint ownership, partnership or through a trust.
An estate can be divided up into three categories: gross estate, residue estate, and estate debt, but it does not include assets a person has transferred to an irrevocable trust during their lifetime.
What is considered Estate? - Gross Estate - Residue Estate - Estate Debt What Is Excluded from an Estate?
This is basically the larger items that determine your net worth. Real property is typically the largest bulk of wealth in your gross estate which includes houses, buildings and any other property that you own. Your gross estate also includes any business and investment.
Residue estate consists of your personal estate property. Things such as your car, furniture, clothes, jewellery, tools, equipment and anything else found in your home, including your Hermès collection.
This category also includes any receivables. For example, if you sent out an invoice an hour before you died, the money from that invoice is part of your residue estate.
The final category, and the one many people do not like to think about, is your estate debt. Estate debt includes all debts and obligations owed to others. The most common forms of estate debt are medical bills, student loans, credit cards, mortgages and business invoices.
Taxes owed or damages due from lawsuits also qualify as estate debt. Your debt remains outstanding even when you are not around and they will be factored into your total estate.
What Is Excluded from an Estate?
Assets placed in an irrevocable trust, joint assets like a joint account or, in most cases, the family house, as well as assets with a designated beneficiary, such as a life assurance policy, are not part of the estate.
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