Few things seem as daunting as the U.S. Probate Process, and one particular hurdle is the need of the Personal Representative of the Estate to “File an Inventory.”
A natural question to ask is what needs to go into the inventory? The rule itself specifically calls for “property of the estate” which may, at first glance, seem to encapsulate everything the decedent owned. But this skims over the fact that certain property may be exempt from the Probate Process and could be removed from the Estate early on. For instance, some personal property that may be taken from the Estate by a spouse or children before what remains of the Estate (if anything) goes through the Probate Process. A spouse or, if no spouse, the children may take furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s home with a total value of less than $20,000 at the time of death along with two motor vehicles weighing less than 15,000 pounds each.
Whether or not any personal property was removed, the Personal Representative would need to ascertain the fair market value of all the remaining property. It is important for a Personal Representative to keep track of how the inventory value for an asset was determined and to be able to furnish any appraisal paperwork to interested parties.
Keeping track of the inventory of an Estate can be difficult, especially as new assets surface which were not accounted for previously. This makes staying on top of the Inventory an integral part of the Probate Process. A skilled attorney can assist in the review of an inventory, either for the benefit of a Personal Representative or for an interested party desiring clarification on how some items in the Estate were valued.
Don Morrell of the Kendrick Law Group can help you achieve the closure you and your family deserve in the aftermath of a loved one’s passing. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Co-Written By: Fernando Paredes, Attorney