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The Essential Executor’s Handbook by David G. Hoffman

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Chapter 1

Meet Your Estates

That’s right. I said estates. The term, “settling an estate” is a misnomer. It is a colloquialism used to refer to the process of gathering up all of the decedent’s assets, from every source, paying off creditors, and then passing out what’s left to heirs and beneficiaries. However, how this is actually accomplished varies depending on which estate you are attempting to settle. There are four estates: the Probate Estate, the Contract Estate, the Knick-Knack Estate, and the Trust Estate.

Now, my goal is to show you how to let others settle these estates for you, but you need to understand the basics because, as executor, you bear the bulk of the legal liability. You need to keep an eye on these people as the work proceeds. ...

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