What is an Estate?

Everything you own constitutes your estate.

Everything you own constitutes your estate.

There is a common misbelief that “estates” are something that only the rich and famous possess. This misconception is possible because most people have no idea what constitutes an estate to begin with. On TV and in the movies the term estate is only used to describe or reference the rich and the wealthy, often describing huge lavish property and elegant decorations. In fact, any property, no matter how small or large, humble or extravagant is part of an estate. Land, condos, duplexes, townhomes, apartments and the single family home all make up people’s estates.

Simply put, an estate is everything that a person owns. It includes your favorite guitar, your collection of family photographs, your residence, cash, stocks, bonds, and other investments, retirement plans and businesses you own. If you are a creator, your estate includes all your works, including your paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, copyrights, trademarks and patents. For estate tax purposes, your estate also includes all life insurance policies in your name as well as your IRA’s or other retirement accounts. So again, your estate includes everything that you own, this includes all of your personal property, such as vehicles, jewelry, collectables and other treasured items.

Your estate is everything that you own. You own things, so congratulations… you have an estate.

*****

Donald L. West, Jr., JD, CTLP,  serves as the Associate Director of Education to the Legacy Institute, is a Chartered Legacy & Trusts Planner, a Personne De Confiance, the Creator of the Legacy Pyramid and co-author of A Step-By-Step Guide To Crafting Personal Legacy Statements.

The Legacy Institute, (A.I.L.E.P.), is an organization devoted to empowering families and closely-held business entities cultivate multi-generational connectedness, growth and prosperity.

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