Probate Process: Filing Inventory

In the area of trust and estates law, an important step in the probate process is the filing of an inventory. This task, necessary after the control and possession of estate assets (known as marshaling), has specific requirements and steps:

  1. Filing Deadline: The inventory of estate assets must be filed within 60 days of the personal representative’s appointment. Extensions for this deadline can be requested, but they aren’t automatically granted.
  2. Contents of Inventory: The inventory should list all assets belonging to the estate, along with their values as of the date of the decedent’s death. This list may include various types of assets, such as real property, personal property, and financial accounts.
  3. Asset Valuation: Valuing assets can vary in complexity. For bank accounts, values are often readily available from statements. Investment accounts may need more detailed valuation, especially if the decedent passed away mid-statement period. Unique assets like real estate or personal items (e.g., art, jewelry) typically require professional appraisals to establish accurate values.
  4. Amending Inventory: If inaccuracies or omissions are discovered in the initial inventory, it can be amended. This amended inventory should correct any mistakes and include any previously overlooked assets.
  5. Service Requirements: Both the initial and any amended inventories must be served to certain parties, such as the surviving spouse, intestate heirs (if there is no will), and residuary beneficiaries (those entitled to the estate’s residue after specific bequests). These parties have the right to receive a copy of the inventory unless they waive this right.

Understanding and navigating these steps is crucial in the probate process, particularly for those dealing with the estate of a deceased loved one.


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