What is an Estate and How Do You Protect It?

By Roz Jones

An estate typically refers to your personal property which may include but isn’t limited to: your real estate, business assets, investments, bank accounts, and personal property such as art, antiques, and jewelry. These are important assets that you worked to acquire and are part of your legacy for your family. 

Every estate is unique because people are different. Your estate will look nothing like your neighbor’s because you have different assets. Regardless, it is important to protect your estate and make certain it is safe in the event of your death. 

Protecting your estate isn’t hard, it just takes some time and effort. Once you’ve secured your assets you can rest easier knowing you are protected in the event you are incapable of managing your assets or you die. Additionally, being organized and taking the time to legally protect your assets makes it easier for your estate to be managed during probate. 

Here are some ways to protect your estate:

Get an appraisal- Assets have value but the value must be validated and proven. Appraisals are a great way to make sure your assets are valued at their maximum potential. Real estate, antiques, and other personal property can be assigned a value by an appraiser. You can include the appraisals with your will or trust information.  

Provide proof of ownership- A clean record of ownership is important. Being able to prove you are the legal owner of an asset can reduce disputes and streamline your estate. Provide bills of sale, pink slips, deeds, and other proofs of ownership with your will and trust information.   

Get a will or living trust- The ultimate way to protect your estate is through a living trust or a will. This document will include a legal record of your assets in your estate and directives for disbursement and distribution in the event of your death. 

You’ve worked hard to create a life filled with the things you love and have invested in. It’s important to protect your estate and make sure it isn’t lost to taxes or worse after you die. Take the time to organize your estate and legally protect it for your beneficiaries. An attorney will have even more ideas on how to protect your estate and can help you organize and strengthen it to serve you while you are alive and after you are gone. 

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