Mark and Mary worked hard for what they had. They had a house, cars, retirement, and lived comfortably. Neither one of them ever stopped to think they had an estate. To them an estate was a big fancy house with manicured lawns and gardens.
Don’t think you have an estate because you don’t own a big fancy house? Think again. The estate we are talking about here isn’t a big fancy house.
In law, an estate is a collection of stuff. Your estate is everything you own or have ownership of. It is your house, car, clothes, jewelry, 401(k), checking, savings, and more. If you are lucky enough to be a musician, author, or inventor your estate includes your patents and copyrighted materials.
Your estate is also all your debts, everything you owe. You own your debts just as you own your clothes.
But, more than your stuff, your estate also contains your rights to make your own choices. When you turned 18, the law says that you, and you alone, make your decisions. Nobody else can sign for you or make your decisions. That is, unless you give them permission.