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Definition of 'Estate'

An estate is the total of all assets and liabilities owned by a person or a family. It can also refer to the property owned by a deceased person, which is then passed on to their heirs.

There are two main types of estates: probate estates and non-probate estates. Probate estates are those that must go through the probate process, which is the legal process of distributing a deceased person's assets to their heirs. Non-probate estates are those that do not need to go through probate, such as those that are held in a living trust.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming, so it is important to have a will in place to make things easier for your loved ones after you die. A will can specify who you want to inherit your assets and how you want them to be distributed. It can also appoint a guardian for your minor children and a trustee to manage your assets if you become incapacitated.

If you do not have a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your state. This may not be what you want, so it is important to make a will as soon as possible.

In addition to your assets, your estate also includes your debts. These debts must be paid off before any assets can be distributed to your heirs. If there are not enough assets to pay off all of your debts, your creditors may be able to go after your personal property, such as your car or your home.

It is important to keep track of your assets and debts so that you can make informed decisions about your estate. You should also have a plan in place for how you want your estate to be distributed after you die. If you do not have a plan, your loved ones may have to deal with the probate process, which can be complex and time-consuming.

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