Estate (law)

An estate, in common law, is the net worth of a person at any point in time alive or dead. It is the sum of a person's assets – legal rights, interests and entitlements to property of any kind – less all liabilities at that time. The issue is of special legal significance on a question of bankruptcy and death of the person. (See inheritance.)

Depending on the particular context, the term is also used in reference to an estate in land or of a particular kind of property (such as real estate or personal estate). The term is also used to refer to the sum of a person's assets only.

The equivalent in civil law legal systems is patrimony.

Bankruptcy

Under United States bankruptcy law, a person's estate consists of all assets or property of any kind available for distribution to creditors.[1] However, some assets are recognized as exempt to allow a person significant resources to restart his or her financial life. In the United States, asset exemptions depend on various factors, including state and federal law.[2][3][4] The estate (or assets) of a bankrupt person is administered by a trustee in bankruptcy. The legal position in all common law countries is similar in this respect.