What is an "estate" in New York estate law?

Definition of ESTATE: (noun) / ownership interest

Depending on the context, “estate” may mean: the interest which a person has in property or the aggregate of property which a person owns (New York Estates Powers & Trusts Law § 1-2.6).

Plain English translation: “Estate” is used many different contexts but, at its simplest, it just means ownership.

A person can own real estate, meaning an ownership interest in land, usually referred to as title, as in “the landlord holds title; the tenant merely has a right of possession.”

“Trust estate” refers to property held by a trust where the trustee holds legal title (right to manage) and the beneficiary holds beneficial title (right to benefit from).

“Probate estate” refers to property passing through one’s last will.

When a living person refers to his or her “estate” it is usually a reference to the person’s aggregate ownership, as in “I’ve built a large estate of land, stock, and commodities.”

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Daniel R. Antonelli
Representing trust & estate clients with an emphasis on estate litigation in the New York City Metro Area.