Asset Types

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When you define an asset, you are asked to specify its type (e.g., Stock, Vehicle, Jewelry, etc.), which EstateExec uses to intelligently determine relevant tasks, asset cost basis, likely probate status, and more.

Asset types are generally self-explanatory, but here are some helpful tips:

  • Annuity: An annuity is an investment that pays a fixed amount every year.
    • Qualified — Funded with pre-tax dollars, so everything it pays is generally considered income: its cost basis is treated as $0.
    • Non-Qualified — Funded with post-tax dollars, so only the earnings are considered income: its cost basis is generally the amount of post-tax dollars originally used to fund the annuity.
  • Bonds: Also includes bond funds. Note that government-issued savings bonds have potentially complex tax treatments (examples); it's probably best to research your particular case and manually override the cost basis as described above).
  • Brokerage Account: There's no need to list every single stock individually for the purposes of estate settlement, so it's fine to just list the combined value and the combined cost basis for a brokerage account as single asset. However, if the account contains any retirement funds, it's best to list those as a separate asset, due to tax treatment differences.
  • Cash: Does not include foreign currency, which should normally be listed as the "Other" type (due to the special tax treatment of foreign currency gains and losses. Note that the cost basis of cash is the cash itself, so EstateExec automatically updates the cost basis of any distributed cash to be the amount distributed.
  • Collectible: Art, NFTs, coins, stamps, alcoholic beverages, and the like.
  • Cryptocurrency: Digital currency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the like.
  • Deposit Account: Certificates of deposit (CDs), savings accounts, checking accounts, money market funds, and the like.
  • Estate Account: Usually corresponds to a bank account the executor establishes to manage the administration of the estate.
  • Loan: A loan that the decedent or the estate itself made to someone else (the "lendee"). When the lendee repays some or all of the loan, you should record this payment in a loan repayment cashflow transaction, which will automatically reduce the remaining value of the loan asset.
  • Refund: It's common for an estate to receive refunds for unused service contracts, overpaid taxes, etc. While you may not know about these owed refunds when you start managing an estate, they are still considered assets of the estate at death (as opposed to income generated later on). See Record a Refund for instructions on depositing a refund check.
  • Retirement: This category includes accounts which were funded with pre-tax money, such as a standard IRA or 401K. If the IRA was partially funded with post-tax money, you will want to manually override the cost basis, as described above. Roth IRAs can be a little tricky, so it's probably best to list them as Other, and enter the cost basis you feel is appropriate (the distributed value in most cases, but you may want to enter the actual amount used to fund the account if that will be more useful to the heir). See Cost Basis for background information on retirement funds.
  • Stocks: Also includes things such as mutual funds and ETFs.
  • Trust: This asset type is only for trusts that existed prior to death (trusts that receive assets from the estate should be listed as Heirs, not Assets). See Trust Assets for important details about handling trusts within EstateExec.

Well-meaning executors are sometimes tempted to go even further with asset categorization, inventing sub-categories or even entire asset taxonomies... but this is not necessary for estate settlement. Since EstateExec's mission is to simplify the executor process, we only request categories that may impact the settlement process. That being said, if you want to provide additional organization beyond the supported asset types, you can mark assets with your own categories or "tags" in the assets' Notes fields.

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