Planning for the Future

What is Your Estate Worth?

When planning your estate, it’s important that you have an accurate estimate of its worth.

Most people underestimate the value of their estates. You can estimate the value of your gross estate using the form below. If you’re married, use half the market value of any asset you hold jointly. (Note: There could be additional items not listed that you need to include.)

Worksheet IconTo estimate the value of your estate, download and print our helpful worksheet.

The Probate Process

At death, your will goes through probate. Probate simply means the process by which your last will is determined to be your final dispositive statement and which confirms the appointment of the person or institution you’ve named to administer your estate. The term probate is also used in the larger sense of probating your estate. In this sense, probate means the process by which assets are gathered, applied to pay debts, taxes and expenses of administration, and distributed to those designated as beneficiaries in the will. The executor or personal representative named in the will is in charge of this process, and probate provides an orderly method for administration of the estate. The executor is held accountable by the beneficiaries (and sometimes is supervised formally by a probate court). The executor is entitled to a reasonable fee or commission. Probate law generally encourages or provides for partial distribution during the period of administration; assets may generally be distributed in-kind rather than sold during this time. The tax laws generally focus the responsibility for death tax filings and payments on the executor under a will.

JCB does not offer legal advice. You should consult your attorney regarding your specific situation.

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