Law Office of Craig Willford

Inventory and Appraisal

The creation of the Inventory and Appraisal is a cooperative effort. The primary source of data is the work of the Personal Representative, but the creation of the actual forms is done by the attorney./P>

The assets that pass through the Probate are those that are titled in the name of the decedent only, with no reference to a "Payable on death" beneficiary or joint tenant or passing through a revocable trust. Non-probate assets pass directly to the beneficiaries or heirs; they do not get listed on the Inventory and Appraisal. Examples of non-probate passing of assets are: 1) Totten trust accounts in banks or savings and loans, 2) revocable trusts, 3) joint tenancies, 4) life insurance proceeds (when payable directly to a beneficiary). Once a probate is triggered, then even the "normal" assets in the decedent's name alone would not by themselves have triggered a probate (such as vehicles and last paychecks or other assets where the total of those assets are so small that under law a probate proceeding would not have otherwise been required will nonetheless be required to be added to the Probate assets once the probate process is triggered. So, generally assets which stood in the decedent's name alone must pass to the heirs or beneficiaries only through the court supervised probate.

The Inventory and Appraisal is broken into two parts: Attachment 1 and Attachment 2.

The Inventory and Appraisal, Attachment 1 inventories the assets that are cash or valued as cash, such as bank and savings accounts. These assets are appraised by the Personal Representative.

The Inventory and Appraisal, Attachment 2 inventories the rest of the assets: realty, cars, stocks, bonds, stamp collections, furniture and assets the value of which is a matter of opinion. The Probate Referee appraises those items. Certain things the Probate Referee will require outside information, such as:

These things are still technically appraised by the Probate Referee, but he/she merely filled in the form with the values supplied him/her.

There are times in which the Personal Representative would refrain from the generic "catch all" phrase "Household furniture, furnishings and personal effects". The typical situation that such might be the case is that the heirs/beneficiaries are very litigious and it is anticipated that arguments might break out if a detailed list were not made. The amount of detail is up to the Personal Representative, up to a point.

The Inventory and Appraisal is due to be completed and filed with the court by a certain time after the issuance of Letters.

As a consequence, it is very important to get a good start on the gathering of the data right from the very beginning: the initial interview with the lawyer.

Computer Software Compatibility. If you have a computer, talk with us about methods of making both our jobs easier. We have developed some ways to do that. Let us know what software/hardware you have and we'll see what we can do.

This page and all pages of the web site is copyright by Craig Willford on various dates; this page from 2011.