When a person dies, their assets and possessions in totality are known as their estate. Technically, as long as these possessions were kept by the person who has died, any possession may enter what is known as the deceased estate, although the term is held to refer to items of considerable value, whether financial or sentimental. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the items considered to form part of a deceased estate usually will be such items as houses and land, money, jewelery and businesses that the person was in sole or partial ownership of at the time of death. The â€œdeceased estateâ€ usually covers the sum total of the assets included for distribution in the deceasedâ€™s will.
When making a will, then, it is essential for the person making it â€“ known legally as the testator â€“ to consider all items in their possession which may be considered to have extensive personal value to those they have left behind. This may be a more difficult task than it first appears, bearing in mind that what the testator considers to be something of merely curiosity value might actually be considered important and of major sentimental value by a member (or members) of their family. Being sure that you have made the right choice when you sign a will is essential, as you will not be there after your death in order for someone to ask about such items.
A deceased estate will normally have â€“ in addition to its testator â€“ at least one executor, who is charged with taking the control of the estate and distributing the assets to those named in the will as beneficiaries (that is to say, people who will benefit from the terms of the will). The role of executor is taken very seriously, as it places upon the person named a responsibility to act in the stead of the deceased. For this reason, an executor will often be the same person that provided the legal advice for the overall will.