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Main Dictionary I


An inheritance is something that a person wants to leave to his or her loved ones after his or her death. Inheritance can be investments (stocks or bonds), money and other assets (real estate, cars, jewelry, antiques, and art).

How Inheritances work

An inheritance can be thousands or million dollars. A lot of countries impose an inheritance tax on inheritances. The recipients (beneficiaries) have to pay an inheritance tax ("death duty" or "last turn of the taxman's knife"). The rate of such tax depends on a variety of factors (the recipient's place of residence, the value of the inheritance, and the recipient's relationship to the deceased).

Inheritance taxes are imposed in 6 American states, but no inheritance tax is imposed on any property left to a spouse and children (in some cases).

Closely related beneficiaries are taxed at a lower rate than beneficiaries who are not related to the decedent.

Will process

A will is the legal process of dividing the deceased person's estate between his or her heirs and beneficiaries, according to the will of the decedent and local law. If the decedent had a will, it is processed in court and an executor is appointed to divide the property between the people named in the will and any creditors. Any conflicts are handled in probate court.

A deceased person may not have a will or his or her will may be invalid. In this case, the probate court appoints an administrator to divide the estate in accordance with state laws.

Beneficiaries and heirs of Inheritances

There are rules for dealing with inheritance issues without a will. Inheritors are divided into beneficiaries (people lied in the will) and heirs (spouse, child, etc. - closely related people). Under the rules, heirs have the right to receive the estate of the deceased through "intestate succession".

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