Ultimately, the executor must distribute the estate's net assets to the heirs (see Making Distributions for an explanation of the overall distribution planning and execution process).
A distribution represents the assignment of cash or an asset to a given heir. Before creating a distribution, you must first have defined one or more heirs, and if an asset distribution, one or more assets.
When you create a distribution, you are "allocating" something to an heir. When you mark the distribution "Done", it is considered to be actually distributed.
The reason for the particular distribution may have tax and other distribution implications:
Note that if you are filtering the Distributions table, you can select "Discretionary" and the table will include both standard allocations and heir requests, since both are in the same legal category, under the executor's discretionary control.
It's common to have to distribute certain percentages of the estate to particular heirs. This is easy enough if the estate is simply a pool of cash, but gets a little more challenging when there are assets that will not be liquidated before distribution.
To help monitor and achieve distribution percentage goals:
You can also see everything you've allocated for a particular heir by going to the Distributions tab and filtering the Heir column by the desired name. You can see how much you've actually distributed to that heir by further filtering the "Done" column with "Y" (for "Yes").
A charitable donation is really just an estate distribution to a special type of heir (a charity). To record a charitable donation:
You can do some very helpful things with EstateExec tables. For example,