• Probate, personal representative (either executor – testate, or administrator – intestate)
• Statutes of descent/distribution = intestate succession
• Bequest (personal property), legacy (money), devise (land) – in old English distinctions
• Estate – all things dead person died leaving
– Normally spouse, kids
– Will not know where everything is, but executor must do this or executor is personally liable for not getting all assets into estate
– Executor pays off all debts and is personally liable
– Executor will partition according to will
• Trusts – normally through intent of property owner (v. estate which just appears at death)
• Trustee – pays taxes, does all hard work, caretaker for beneficiaries who get benefits
• Settlor, grantor, creator, trustor, donor = current owner of the property
• Will substitutes are methods to avoid probate – but is probate really that bad? Its not that bad in Texas but it can be in places like NY, PA, MA, etc.
• Will substitutes include: joint bank accounts, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, life insurance, 401K, trusts.
– All of these pass through contracts with the bank, insurance company, etc without the use of probate
– See Langbein article p. 12
• Education expenses and anuitization of wealth is leaving kids with not much inheritance
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