In the context of Estate Administration and Probate, assets is a term that refers to the property, possessions, investments, and other valuable items that have an attributable cash value owned by a deceased person at the time of their death.
When a person passes away, their assets are subject to the probate process, during which their Estate is managed, Debts are settled, and remaining assets are Distributed to Surviving Family, Heirs, and other Beneficiaries according to the deceased's will, or if no will exists, according to state law, known as the Laws of Intestacy.
Any debts or liabilities owed by the deceased, such as mortgages, loans, and unpaid bills, are subtracted from the total value of the estate's assets and only then are the remaining assets are distributed.
A deceased person's assets can take various forms, including:
Real Estate: This includes properties such as homes, land, and commercial buildings.
Personal Property: Personal belongings like jewelry, artwork, furniture, vehicles, electronics, and collectibles are considered personal property.
Financial Assets: These include bank accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts (such as IRAs and 401(k)s), and other investments.
Business Interests: Ownership stakes in businesses, partnerships, or sole proprietorships are considered assets.
Life Insurance Policies: The cash value of a Life Insurance policy owned by the deceased, as well as any death benefits payable to beneficiaries, are considered assets.
Annuities: Annuities are financial products that provide periodic payments to the owner or beneficiary. They are also considered assets.
Intellectual Property: Intellectual property assets can include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and royalties.
Digital Assets: In the modern era, digital assets such as online accounts, websites, and digital media might also be considered part of an individual's estate.
Other Investments: Assets may also include investments like real estate Trusts, limited partnerships, and other financial instruments.