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[Anglo-French estat, literally, state, condition, from Old French, from Latin status, from stare to stand]
1 : the interest of a particular degree, nature, quality, or extent that one has in land or other property compare fee future interest at interest, remainder, reversion, tenancy
: an estate whose vesting is conditioned upon the happening or failure of some uncertain event
: the estate of one that has a beneficial right to property which is legally owned by a trustee or a person regarded at equity as a trustee (as in the case of a use or power) compare legal estate in this entry
estate at sufferance
: the estate in property held by one who remains in possession of or on the property after his or her lawful right to do so has ended
estate at will
: an estate in property subject to termination at the will of another person
estate by the entirety
: an estate held by a husband and wife together in which the whole property belongs to each of them and passes as a whole to the survivor upon the death of either of them to the exclusion of the deceased spouse's heirs called also estate by the entireties; compare joint tenancy tenancy by the entirety, and tenancy in common at tenancy
estate for years
: an estate that terminates after a set period
estate of inheritance
: an estate that can be inherited (as a fee simple as opposed to a life estate)
estate on condition
: an estate subject to a contingency whose happening permits the grantor of the estate to terminate it if he or she so chooses compare fee simple determinable at fee simple
estate pur autre vie
: a life estate measured by the life of a third person rather than that of the person enjoying the property
pl: estates tail
: an estate granted to a person and his or her direct descendants subject to a reverter or remainder upon the inheritance of the property by a grantee without direct descendants
: fee tail at fee
: an estate to which one person (as a trustee) has legal title but of which another person has the right to the beneficial use compare equitable estate in this entry
: an estate in property held only during or measured in duration by the lifetime of a specified individual and esp. the individual enjoying the property see also life tenant NOTE: Life estates are not estates of inheritance.
: an estate in which one has a right to enjoyment currently or sometime in the future
2 : all or designated items of a person's or entity's property considered as a whole
: the estate of a debtor in bankruptcy that includes all the debtor's legal and equitable interests in property as set out in the bankruptcy laws called also debtor's estate see also bankruptcy, trustee in bankruptcy
: all of a person's property except real property
: all of the property belonging to a person
: an estate whose ownership and control is enjoyed by a person free from any rights or control of another (as a spouse)
3 a : the assets and liabilities left by a person at death see also bequest, devise, freehold, heir, inheritance, intestate, leasehold, legacy, probate, testate, will
: a deceased person's probate estate increased in accordance with statutory provisions and esp. by the addition of any property transferred by the deceased within two years of death, any joint tenancies, and any transfers in which the deceased retained either the right to revoke or the income for life NOTE: In some states, the surviving spouse's elective share is distributed from the augmented estate.
: the estate of a person upon death defined by federal estate laws to include all of the deceased's real and personal property at death that may be passed by will or by intestate succession as well as specified property transferred by the deceased before death
: all of a deceased person's estate that is administered under the jurisdiction of the probate court NOTE: Some assets, such as certain insurance proceeds, generally do not become part of the probate estate and are said to “pass outside of probate.”
: all of what is left of an estate once the deceased person's debts and administration costs have been paid and all specific and general bequests and devises have been distributed called also residual estate
: the estate of a deceased person that is subject to estate tax NOTE: Under federal estate tax law, the taxable estate is the gross estate less allowed deductions.
b : the aggregate of a deceased person's property considered as a legal entity
4 : a tract of land esp. affected by an easement
: a tract of land that is benefited by an easement burdening a servient estate
: a tract of land that is burdened by an easement benefiting a dominant estate
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.