Estate inventory is one role of an executor.
People can accumulate a lot of stuff throughout their lifetimes.
This can include common clutter.
It can also include valuable assets.
After all, what is trash to one may be treasure to another.
According to a recent Yahoo Finance article titled “What Is Included in an Estate Inventory?,” what is owned must be known before an estate can be settled.
The executor of the estate is nominated by the decedent to settle the estate through probate.
What is one of the first responsibilities of the executor after filing the last will and testament with the probate court?
If you guessed “prepare and file an inventory” with the court, then you would be correct.
Depending on the size of the estate and the proactive organization of the decedent, this can be a simple or an overwhelming task.
Unfortunately, the decedent is at that point unavailable for clarification and guidance at that juncture.
Accordingly, that is why a “paper trail” of information and instructions is worth its weight in gold.
In addition to determining assets and liabilities, the inventory should include the fair market value and ownership of each asset or liability.
What assets are typically included in the estate inventory?
An estate inventory will include accounts like bank accounts, checking accounts, investment accounts, money market accounts, savings accounts, and CDs.
They will also include real estate, household items, and personal effects.
Business interests, copyrights, patents, and trademarks should be included if they exist.
Retirement accounts, pension plans, annuities, life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance are also considered assets.
Because debts may need to be paid prior to distribution of assets to heirs, executors should also inventory liabilities.
What are common liabilities?
These include mortgages and home loans, business loans, private student loans, personal loans, and automobile loans.
Open lines of credit and credit cards should be added to the list.
Outstanding debts or unpaid taxes or medical bills should be inventoried.
Even if the asset or liability seems inconsequential, it should be placed on the estate inventory.
When it comes to all aspects of estate planning and administration, more information is always better than too little.
Kind of like grape jelly on a PBJ sandwich in your grade school sack lunch.
If you would like a copy of the “organizing tools” we provide to clients of our estate planning practice, then send a “self-addressed stamped email”* requesting the same in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Supplies are limited. Offer expires in 30 days (July 2, 2022).
*Just kidding about the “self-addressed stamped email” part. However, if you need a further explanation, then feel free to email me privately.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (Feb. 15, 2022) “What Is Included in an Estate Inventory?”