An inventory of probate assets is important because it catalogs all of the assets held within an estate. Many times an inventory of probate assets is referred to as an estate accounting and it occurs after a probate administration is opened with the court. Following the probate administration hearing an executor is appointed to help administrate the probate on behalf of the estate. The next order in the probate proceedings is to start an inventory and accounting of the estate.
In this article we’ll go through all of the details you will need to know about an inventory of estate assets starting with what it is.
What is an Inventory of Probate Assets?
When probate is opened, one of the first matters that gets handled is an inventory of the estate assets, after an executor of the estate is selected. An inventory of probate assets refers to the collection of all the assets of the decedent’s estate. The inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s estate determines the value of the estate as of the date of the decedent’s death. The probate process cannot move forward if inventory is not taken. After taking inventory, the executor presents the inventory to the probate judge and then the estate starts being administered.
Importance of taking inventory of probate assets
Without taking into consideration the inventory of probate assets, the executor cannot determine how to successfully administer the estates with each creditor and beneficiary getting what should be due to them. Taking inventory of the total assets of the deceased helps to know the total value of the estate that the deceased left behind. An inventory of probate assets is different from a probate accounting or estate accounting which is a full audit of the probate matter which is more thoroughly and is completed by a CPA. An accounting of an estate usually happens before probate distribution and is submitted to the court when a hearing to distribute probate is filed.
Timeline for an inventory of probate assets
The timeline for taking inventory or doing an accounting of the estate after the deceased passes away varies from state to state. The process begins once the estate enters into probate administration. In most states, the inventory must be taken within 60 days after the letters of administration have been received. The timeline can vary based on the state in which the probate takes place and their individual state probate laws.
Inventory of assets timeline for California compared to Florida is different because the court grants 4 months in California for the inventory of assets to take place whereas in Florida the court only gives 60 days for the inventory of assets to take place once the letters of administration are granted.
A checklist for probate inventory is handy and can help to make sure that the right assets are included or excluded. Jointly owned assets or assets in trust are excluded from probate and personal property or assets outside of trust are included, typically. A full inventory of probate assets checklist is included here for your help.
How inventory of probate assets works
The process of taking inventory of probate assets is one of the most tedious stages of probate. It starts with the executor creating a separate and independent account for all the liquid assets and investments of the deceased.
Once the account has been created, all the liquid assets (cash), investments and ROIs due would be transferred to that account. The executor will also get the landed and fixed assets appraised to determine the real value of the decedent’s estates.