What to Know About Distribution of an Estate

A will is a legal document designed to be read after the death of the person who has died. It contains some important information about the person who has died, including who is entitled to a deceased estate, responsible for making an estate plan, and financially responsible for an estate. The document is also used to state who may legally make decisions for the decedent’s assets in the future and determine the name of an executor or administrator and the procedure for making a will. Understanding the laws on who is entitled to deceased estates can help you prepare your will effectively.

deceased-estatesThe will states who is entitled to deceased estates. In cases where there is no valid will, or if the testator did not die until after the will has been completed, the court determines who is entitled to a deceased estate through its application of the estate tax laws. This part of the law requires that you list those people who are owed inheritance tax money under their property and wealth at the time of your death. You should list all of these people, even if they are not relatives.

You may wonder why the testator must state who is to receive the inheritance. The reason is to provide clarity regarding who receives the inheritance. For example, if you name someone as your executor but don’t specify who that person is, the executor will end up having the responsibility of distributing the inheritance. Besides, if you name a person to perform the executor’s duties but don’t specify that person’s qualifications, such a person could end up performing duties in incompetency. If you don’t name someone and specify what duties and qualifications that person must meet, then you run the risk of the deed being nullified because it names a person who is not qualified to carry out the duties.

Another area of the law that can affect the distribution of an estate is the testator’s state of mind at the time of the decedent’s death. If you determine that the testator was not competent at the time of death, then you must exclude that fact from the testator’s Estate Relief decision. For example, if the testator had a mental disease at the time of death and then declared bankruptcy after that condition had been cured, you would not want to include that fact in his/her Estate Relief decision. It is very important to be as clear as possible in this area as the tax law is based upon the fact that the testator knew what he/she was doing at the time of the decedent’s death. Simply excluding information that the testator knew about his/her competence at the time of death can subject the estate to tax liability.

You may opt to consult your accountant or financial planner if he/she has any suggestions for how to best approach a difficult situation involving the testator’s estate—as with any legal matter, hiring a professional is always the best way to proceed. Ask family and friends who may shed some light on any difficulties that may have come up in the testator’s life. Further, make use the phone directory to find a local estate planning attorney and real estate, attorney. They are often willing to offer their assistance to those who are having difficulty figuring out who is entitled to deceased estates.

One final note: The law requires that anyone making a will ensure that all of his/her children are properly taken care of, and all of his/her debts are satisfied. Any bill that does not address this must contain a Trustee who will oversee the estate’s distribution. If the will does not address this need, then the court must create such an entity. Again, if you are having difficulty determining who is entitled to a deceased estate, you should consider using an estate planning attorney. You’ll be glad you did!