Inventory of Decedent's Estate for Probate and Estate Administration
An Inventory of Estate is a document prepared during the process of probate and estate administration that provides information on the property in a deceased person's estate and the net value of such property. If the estate is going through the formal process of probate, the Inventory of Estate may be filed with the court. An Inventory of Estate typically must be completed before estate property can be distributed.
Persons with an interest in the estate, such as
of the deceased, may have a right to receive a copy of the Inventory, depending on applicable state laws. One of the duties of being an executor or personal representative is to prepare the Inventory. For a list of duties that must be performed to settle an estate, refer to the
executor checklist.This article provides an overview of what you will need to prepare an Inventory, instructions on how to complete an Inventory of Estate form, and tips on completing forms to probate an estate.
What Should be Included on an Inventory of Estate?
The items that should be listed on an Inventory of Estate will vary depending on state laws and the type of estate. An Inventory should provide a description of property in the estate, the fair market value of such property, any encumbrances against the property, and the net value of the estate. The information typically listed on an Inventory of Estate is described below:1. If the decedent owned real estate, the decedent's ownership interest in such property should be listed on the Inventory, with some exceptions. This depends on how title to property is held. For example, if the real property was owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship, it may not need to be listed on the Inventory if the property will pass to the surviving joint tenant. Ask your attorney for assistance when reviewing property deeds to determine if the property should be listed on the Inventory. When real estate is listed on an Inventory, the property address, description, and market value should be included.2. Personal property owned by the deceased should be listed on the Inventory. Because there is only a short amount of space to list personal property on the form, you may need professional guidance on how to accurately describe the personal property and its market value. You may find it helpful to use an
estate property form to create an organized list of the personal property.3. All bank, brokerage, and other financial accounts owned by the deceased should be listed on the Inventory. Information such as the institution where the account is held, names of all account owners, account balance, and decedent's ownership interest in the account is typically listed on the Inventory. However, if the account is owned jointly with right of survivorship, it may not be required to be listed on the Inventory. Also, if the account will pass outside of probate through non-probate transfers and is not part of decedent's estate, it may not be required to be listed on the Inventory.4. If the deceased owned stocks, bonds or other securities, they are listed on the Inventory. A description of the security, the number of shares, the market value, and decedent's percentage ownership interest in the securities may be required to be listed on the Inventory. If you need help determining the current market price or other information about decedent's investments, contact a financial advisor.5. The amount of cash, coins, and checks not deposited by the decedent is listed on the Inventory.6. Motor vehicles owned by the deceased are listed on the Inventory. The make, model, year, vehicle identification number, market value, and other owners of the vehicle may also be included on the Inventory. Check the vehicle title for ownership information.7. If there are unpaid
debts owed to deceased at the time of death, the amount of any unpaid loans may need to be listed on the Inventory, along with pertinent details such as the borrower's name and address, date of the loan, terms, etc.8. If lawsuits were filed or there is pending litigation that may result in a settlement or award being paid to decedent's estate, it may need to be listed on the Inventory.9. Decedent's ownership interest in businesses, such as LLC's, privately held corporations, and partnerships, should be listed on the Inventory of Estate. Consult an attorney about what type of information should be listed for each type of business interest.If the deceased had a safe deposit box, there may be items in decedentís safe deposit box that the executor must take possession of in order to complete a proper Inventory. If you cannot access the safe deposit box, consult a lawyer about taking the necessary steps to gain access, such as filing a petition with the court if necessary.
Instructions for Completing an Inventory of Estate
If you are the executor or personal representative of the estate, you will generally be required to file or distribute the Inventory of Estate within a certain number of days or months after your appointment or the issuance of
Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. The Inventory of Estate usually needs to be prepared in a short period of time, such as a few months after opening
probate. To find the deadline for completing an Inventory for the estate you are administering, consult an attorney about state statutes and any local court procedures that may apply.Before completing the Inventory of Estate form, an executor may be required to have estate assets appraised. Documentation of the appraisal may also need to be attached to the Inventory. The appraisal requirements for an Inventory of Estate are different depending on where the estate is administered, the applicable probate procedures, etc. See state laws.
If you use probate forms provided by your local court, always follow the specific instructions on the court forms and consult a lawyer for help completing them. The Inventory of Estate must also comply with requirements in applicable state statutes.Keep in mind the importance of completing the Inventory of Estate in a complete and accurate manner. For example, if property is omitted from the Inventory that should be included, the heirs or beneficiaries may bring legal action to have the missing property added to the Inventory. Persons with an interest in the property may petition to have it removed from the Inventory if it should not be part of the estate. A court may also order property to be added to or removed from an Inventory of Estate. This may occur when there are will and trust disputes. One step an executor or personal representative can take to avoid disputes over the Inventory is to review deeds, account registrations, titles, and similar ownership documents carefully and determine ownership of each item of property before listing it on the Inventory. The values listed in the Inventory must also be accurate. Ensure the correct date is used for the valuation, such as date of death or other applicable date.Check the correct box indicating whether this Inventory of Estate is an original or initial inventory, an additional or supplemental inventory, or a revised, amended or corrected inventory.
If the executor or personal representative becomes aware of errors or omissions on the initial Inventory of Estate, they should comply with all legal requirements to file a corrected or supplemental Inventory.When the Inventory of Estate form has been completed and reviewed, it must be signed by the executor, personal representative or other fiduciary. It may need to be notarized or witnessed by a representative of the court, depending on state and local requirements. The executor or personal representative should file the Inventory with the court or distribute it to persons with an interest in the estate, if required by state laws.
Inventory of Estate Forms
Although Inventory of Estate forms in the U.S. are different from one jurisdiction to another, an Inventory of Estate generally lists the following:1. The county and state where the estate is being administered.2. The full legal name of the estate.3. The date of death.4. The full name of the executor or personal representative.5. The address and telephone number of the executor or personal representative.6. Real property owned by the decedent. Copies of deeds may need to be attached.7. Personal property owned by the decedent such as furniture, household goods, clothing, jewelry, collectibles, artwork, tools, equipment, and other personal property.
8. All financial accounts of the deceased, such as bank accounts, mutual fund accounts, and other financial accounts that are part of decedent's estate.9. All securities owned by decedent, such as stocks and bonds.10. The total dollar amount of cash, coins, and undeposited checks.11. Cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, other motor vehicles, and boats owned by the decedent.12. Unpaid loans owed to the decedent.
13. Potential settlements or awards from pending legal claims.14. Ownership interests in any partnership, limited liability company or corporation.15. All mortgages, liens, and other encumbrances.16. The net value of the estate.If you do not have the forms required to prepare an Inventory of Estate, contact a probate attorney. You may also contact the clerk's office in the probate court where the estate is being administered to inquire about pre-printed probate forms.
Forms to Probate an Estate
If you are the executor or personal representative of an estate and want to review a list of forms used to settle an estate, see how to probate an estate.This is only a basic overview of the types of property generally included on Inventory of Estate forms. The specific information you will need to prepare an Inventory of Estate may be different than described above depending on the jurisdiction where the estate is administered, any rules or procedures of the local probate court, the unique facts and circumstances of the estate, whether there is litigation, and other factors. To ensure you prepare an Inventory that complies with applicable laws and fulfills your duties as executor, have it prepared or reviewed by a licensed
probate lawyer. An attorney can advise whether specific items should be included on the Inventory, especially items that are not owned solely by the decedent.If the estate is settled pursuant to a small estates exception under applicable state laws, the Inventory of Estate requirements discussed on this page may not apply. See probate of small estates.Copyright 2020 Pennyborn.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Published on December 10, 2018.
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