Firm News - Frayer Law Offices

How to Inventory Your Property

Posted by Julia Ross on Mar 7, 2013 9:44pm PST

In order to properly plan for probate, you must conduct a full inventory of your property and assets so that your estate value can be determined. This inventory is important because it ensures that you leave enough to cover your debts and distributions to beneficiaries. For example, if the value of your estate does not meet the obligations of your estate creditors, it will be subject to abatement statutes. This basically means that one or more of your beneficiaries will not receive the amount that you had left for them, or they may not receive anything at all.

Inventory is also important because it makes sure that all of your property is accounted for. At the end of the probate process, your personal representative will collect and inventory your estate’s assets to make sure that all of the property you listed is available. If there is missing property or property that is not under your ownership at the time of your death, then the ademption statutes that allow a cash equivalent or a replacement asset to be given to the appropriate beneficiary will not be relevant.

Above all, you should conduct an inventory simply for the reason of understanding what your estate is worth. This knowledge enables you to make intelligent choices for your estate plan, and your personal representative will need to know this information as well. Here at Frayer Law Offices, our Pittsburgh probate lawyers can help you through this detailed and intensive process. Even an old list of your properties and assets can be used as a helpful starting point, and we will guide you during each step of the process.

First and foremost, a probate inventory should list all cash on hand and should clearly show the ownership of this cash. It is wise to include evidence and facts that support who is legally in control of the cash. Inventory does not explain how cash should be distributed, but merely lists a total of all of the cash available. Inventory should also take into account all of the cash on deposit. Listing all of the bank accounts and the cash totals on deposit in those accounts is a good place to start. These numbers may include your business accounts, and you can also take this opportunity to demonstrate to the judge that a business is not separate from a partner.

Stocks, bonds, and other investment securities should also be listed in the probate inventory. The value of these accounts should be valued on a specific date because the value of each account can bounce up or down with the passing of time. Your inventory should also include all vehicles that belong to you, as well as any outstanding debt on those vehicles and any other owners who are on the title. Real property, such as land and buildings, must be included in the inventory. If you are a part of a business that is a partnership, you will have a claim on business property depending on how your partner has designated property in his or her will.

The inventory process is notorious for being laborious and complex. Here at Frayer Law Offices, our legal team can help you understand your legal rights and how this inventory process will benefit you and your heirs in the future. Once you pass away, it will be the responsibility of your personal representative to inventory your estate. You can help your personal representative avoid the headaches and long process of sorting out the details of your estate by taking a little time to plan ahead. Our Pittsburgh probate lawyers will provide you with reliable answer to your questions and dedicated help, so call today and schedule a consultation to discuss your assets and the future of your estate.