What is an Estate?

by Attorney Ashley Securda

Attorney Ashley Securda

Many times I hear the word “estate” being discussed in the wrong context. To further complicate matters, the word “estate” is used in several different ways in the legal profession.

Generally, an “estate” is defined as the assets an individual owns after they pass away. The first question to be answered after an individual passes away is whether or not the person has an “estate”. If the person does have an estate, then it should be determined if the estate needs to be administered or probated.

In order to determine if an estate exists, the assets of the decedent (the fancy legal term for the person that passed away) need to be reviewed. The determining factor is how the assets are titled or who owns the assets. If you die owning an asset individually, whatever asset you own individually becomes part of your “estate”. On the other hand, for example, if you own an asset jointly (with your spouse, for example), that asset is usually not part of your estate. There are some exceptions to this rule of course. Some assets that you own individually may not be part of your estate.

The word “estate” is also used when referring to “real estate” which simply means your real property or your home. It can also refer to land or a parcel.

It is important to talk to an experienced attorney that handles estate administration after your loved one passes away. If you open an estate and it could have been avoided, thousands of dollars could be wasted. Losing a family member is hard enough – let us do the hard work for you.

Call (570) 622-5933 today to speak to either Attorney Eric Mika, Certified Elder Law Attorney, or Attorney Ashley Securda, our team of experienced Elder Law Attorneys.

Contact Williamson Friedberg & Jones

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