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How to compile an inventory of assets for probate purposes

Updated February 21, 2017

The inventory of assets in probate is used in vital aspects of the legal proceedings, such as the calculation of estate taxes and distribution of the assets to the heirs. An asset inventory is a list of all the personal items, money and real estate owned by the deceased person. You are required to make an inventory list as the representative of the estate in order to complete probate and settle the estate legally. Expensive items and real estate require a value determination by a licensed professional once the list is compiled.

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  1. Categorise the household items and furnishings in the deceased person's home. Do not be exact unless the court or your state's law directs you to do so, as you may be allowed to assign a blanket value to common household items. Do not include rare items or antiques with a high value, like expensive jewellery. Itemise by section, such as "Appliances," and approximate a value for the sum of the items.

  2. Write down the rare and expensive items in the home. Include expensive jewellery, rare collections and other high-priced items. Be specific; for jewellery, include the type of stone and the carat weight.

  3. Make a list of the deceased person's money. Include bank accounts, cash on hand, uncashed checks, the balance of any loans the deceased person gave and Certificates of Deposit. For accounts, include the account type, number and current balance.

  4. Write down the deceased person's other investments. Include 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, retirement savings, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, any impending court awards from a lawsuit, annuities and savings bonds.

  5. Write down all of the person's motor vehicles, boats and other vehicles. Include the make, model and year.

  6. Make a list of all real estate the person owned. Include houses, vacation houses, apartments, commercial buildings, condominiums, town houses and any other real estate like pieces of vacant land. Include the full address for each property.

  7. Write down the number and location of any safety deposit boxes owned by the deceased person. Note the contents if you know what the box holds. Petition the probate court to open the box if you do not know the contents. Add the contents to the asset list once opened.

  8. Tip

    Consult your probate attorney if you are unsure about certain assets or have other questions about the inventory list.

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About the Author

Anna Assad

Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

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