What is an Estate?
At that most general level, your “estate” consists of all your property, including bank accounts, retirements plans, real estate, cars, jewelry, and other items of personal property.
There are other definitions of an “estate” that can apply at different times, as well. For example, the “probate estate” is the total amount of assets that need to be distributed under the direction of the probate court or someone authorized by the probate court after someone has died. One’s “taxable estate” consists of all the property that is subject to estate tax laws. Most often, when we talk about someone’s “estate,” we are talking about all of the property that a person owned at the time of his or her death, but sometimes we talk about the “estate” of a living person, especially if that person is the ward of a conservatorship.
A well-designed Estate Plan contemplates all of these circumstances–allowing you to arrange your affairs in such a way that minimizes taxes, court costs, and administrative expenses, where possible, eliminates the need for a court to step in and manage your affairs on your behalf.
To set up a consultation with one of our Mesa Estate planning lawyers, contact us.