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A thief walks into a bank, puts a gun to the head of one of the customers, and announces that he will shoot unless the teller hands over all the money in the drawer. The teller does nothing. The thief shoots the customer, runs off, and never is seen again. The customer dies of his injuries, and his estate brings a lawsuit against the bank, complaining that the teller should have given the money...

Source: p 18, The Legal Analyst, Ward Farnsworth

Here, I guess that estate refers to a human, so none of the definitions befit. Definition 4 doesn't because this sort of thief isn't necessarily related to nobles.

I also tried the legal dictionary but to no avail.

  • @iStimple How would 'all the money and property' bring a lawsuit? – Accounting Aug 5 '14 at 15:38
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    There is normally an "executor" who is responsible for this property, etc.; "estate" is a shorthand for this entire concept - the possessions and money, and the individual responsible for maintaining or disposing of them. – GalacticCowboy Aug 5 '14 at 15:40
  • @iStimple Thanks. I thought that the dictionary would explain this. – Accounting Aug 5 '14 at 15:41
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    I don't think this should be closed as entirely answerable with a dictionary. The OP has a specific concern in context and can't reconcile the dictionary meaning with apparent usage. This is good, clear, and on topic, and we could use more questions like this one. – snailplane Aug 6 '14 at 14:46
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As @GalacticCowboy mentioned: "There is normally an 'executor' who is responsible for this property, etc.; 'estate' is a shorthand for this entire concept - the possessions and money, and the individual responsible for maintaining or disposing of them"

Plaintiff brings this action as executor for the estate of Michael Thelen. Michael Thelen was a citizen of California and his citizenship is controlling for purposes of federal diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(2). Example from Pennsylvania Courts:

The example shows the concept of legal action being taken as part of the execution of the estate.

"An executor is entrusted with responsibility for winding up someone's earthly affairs" [NOLO: What Does an Executor Do?]

These responsibilities include finding the deceased person's assets, figuring out who inherits the property, file the will, pay debts, pay taxes, supervise distribution of property to people named in the will. These are simply the major duties to give a feeling to the job.

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    You could also mention longer-term "estate" executions, such as for famous individuals. For example, Michael Jackson's "estate" still pursues copyright infringement - his executor acts on behalf of the works that he produced while alive, as an ongoing possession. – GalacticCowboy Aug 5 '14 at 18:49
  • @GalacticCowboy Thank you for your response. Please feel free to recast it as an answer, for which I'll upvote. – Accounting Aug 14 '14 at 12:51
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The legal concept of a "person" is not restricted to a mere "human being". For some purposes, a "corporation" is a legal "person". I do not know whether an "estate" is a kind of "person" for legal purposes.

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  • Not in English (or at common) law, but other jurisdictions may vary. – Francis Davey Oct 23 '14 at 23:36

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