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Three tips for executors to create an estate inventory

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Estate Planning - Estate Administration & Probate

The main work of an estate executor is to make sure all the heirs to the estate receive their inheritance. If you someday will act as executor for a deceased family member, you should know how to properly organize the property of the estate into an inventory.

An estate inventory lists all the assets owned by the deceased person. This allows you to understand the monetary value of the estate, plus it gives you a complete idea of what beneficiaries should inherit.

Be thorough in listing estate assets

The estate inventory should include all assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death. This encompasses a wide range of assets, such as real estate, financial accounts, investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies, vehicles and business interests.

Money owed to your deceased relative also counts as part of the estate. Therefore, your inventory should include debts owed to your relative, unpaid wages and any court judgments still owed to your family member.

Investigate to uncover all assets

Do not assume that everything your relative owned is out in the open. You may have to do some digging to find everything that should go in the inventory. Executors often have to look through documents such as:

  • Deeds
  • Titles
  • Account statements
  • Tax returns

A search of the home of your deceased loved one may also be in order, as well as any safe deposit box your family member possessed. Taking to friends or other relatives might also turn up something you have missed.

Include complete information

Executors should not simply list assets with broad descriptions like “house” or “boat.” Instead, they should provide detailed information about each asset.

For real estate, this includes the address, legal description, a copy of the deed and an estimate of the fair market value. For bank accounts, relevant information includes the name of the bank, account number and cash balance. This level of detail is necessary for the probate court to accurately assess the value of the estate.

With a fully realized estate inventory, you can facilitate a smoother probate process and avoid possible legal problems in probate.