What is an estate?

Jul 21, 2021

Paul S. Labiner

Paul Labiner


Your estate is the sum total of your assets. One should interpret “asset” and “own” here very broadly. To oversimplify a bit, if you could say “X is mine,” you probably have some ownership stake in it. Likewise, “asset” means anything that has commercial value or emotional value. Some items that you should include in your estate are:

  • Life insurance, pension benefits, annuity contracts, and retirement accounts,
  • All real property and things attached to it (e.g. houses, buildings, barns),
  • All personal property (e.g. cars, homes, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, jewelry, art, collectibles),
  • Digital assets and data (e.g. social media accounts, cloud-stored data, websites and URLs, login credentials),
  • All businesses, business interests, and the goodwill, inventory, equipment, accounts receivable, and other property of those entities,
  • Powers of appointment (i.e. the right to direct who gets someone else’s property), and,
  • Claims you have against others.

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