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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Probate > Coping With Estate Inventory

Coping With Estate Inventory


When people find out that a recently deceased person has named them as personal representative of the estate, or when they try to settle the estate of a family member who died without a will, their biggest worries tend to revolve around disputes over inheritance rights, creditor claims gobbling up a significant portion of the estate, or needing to sell the decedent’s real estate properties to satisfy debts or distribute the proceeds to heirs.  In fact, most estates settle without these issues arising, so your task as personal representative of a family member’s estate may be simpler than you think.  Even in the simplest cases, though, you must account for all of the decedent’s property and submit documentation of it to the court, so that the court can legally distribute it to the beneficiaries.  This task can be daunting if the decedent was not open with you about his or her finances during his or her lifetime or if the decedent owned property outside the state of Florida.  For help with estate inventory and other aspects of probate, contact a Tampa probate attorney.

Which Assets Do You Need to Document?

The estate inventory is a complete listing of the assets that belong to the decedent’s estate.  Except in cases where the decedent was diligent about estate planning, this usually includes everything the decedent owned at the time of his or her death, with the exception of property owned jointly by the decedent and his or her spouse.  These are some examples of assets you should list on the estate inventory form:

  • Real estate properties owned solely by the decedent
  • Business interests held by the decedent
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Investment accounts, such as stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Retirement accounts, such as IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k) accounts
  • Insurance policies, including life insurance and the death benefit portions of long-term care insurance policies
  • Annuities that include death benefits
  • Payments owed to the decedent, including paychecks from work and outstanding amounts of money that the decedent lent to other people

The estate inventory form only needs to include probate assets, which are the assets that belong to the state and which are subject to examination and distribution by the probate court.  You do not need to include non-probate assets on the estate inventory form.  Non-probate assets include trusts and any property held in trust, as well as bank accounts with payable on death beneficiaries and investment accounts with transfer on death beneficiaries.

If you have the unenviable task of completing an estate inventory form for a decedent whose finances are in disarray, the short-term solution is to hire a probate lawyer.  The long-term solution is to ensure that your own estate plan is more elegant.  Include a detailed list of your assets in your will, and convert as much of your property into non-probate assets as you can.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Estate Inventory During Probate

A Central Florida probate lawyer can help you complete the estate inventory and the other requirements of probate.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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