What constitutes an “estate”?

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What constitutes an “estate”?

As beneficiaries receiving life insurance payout, does the lawyer claim 2% of that as well? As executor, am I allowed to sell the house not in my name without probate?

Asked on August 23, 2013 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Life insurance proceeds are not considered part of a deceased's estate; they are paid out directly to the listed beneficiaries. Therefore, no one can claim any fees relating to the administration of an estate from them.

As to transferring ownership of an estate asset, that is what probate is designed for; it is one of the purposes of probate. That having been said, depending on the state that the asset is located in and it's value, there may be an expedited procedure for transferrinng title. Therefore, there may or may not be a mechanism in this case for selling the house without opening up a formal probate.

At this point you should consult directly with a probate attorney in the area of where the estate is located and/or contact the local probate court for more information


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