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OFF TOPIC--Question about definition of "estate"

Started by janet, 05/31/2009 08:04PM
Posted 05/31/2009 08:04PM Opening Post
Hi everyone,
First my apologies as this is off-topic, but possibly indirectly related. I'm wondering if any of you investment/estate-planning gurus might know the answer to my question. (This is also cross posted in "I think I know the law")

I'm hoping someone here can answer a question for me. An elderly neighbor's daughter passed away unexpectedly and I am trying to help her with some of the financial matters.

**The daughter did not have a will and mom is next of kin (unmarried & no children)
**The daughter owned their home & mom will continue to reside there
**The daughter has a pension and life insurance policy (worth about $250K total)

Because she died without a will, I am aware that in Texas an Affidavit of Small Estate can be filed in cases where someone dies without a will and the estate is less than $50K, excluding the primary home and other protected assets. I also read that the home can be transferred to the mother this way.

***My question is: Are the life insurance policy and pension included in the $50K estate limit?***

I am trying to help as this person has no one else and money is tight. The daughter was her sole source of support, so I want to avoid using an attorney at this point if possible to preserve as much money for her as possible. Of course after this, some financial planning is in order, but want to help her through this first.

My area of expertise is medicine, so wondering if any of you w/ a legal or financial background can offer some insight or tips. Thanks in advance!"
Posted 06/01/2009 12:40AM #1
That is one question for which I would retain a lawyer. I am sure a lawyer registered in TX would know immediately. Normally insurance policy proceeds are excluded from estate taxes.