Estate Inventory During Maryland Probate
Your work as the personal representative of a deceased family member’s estate is probably not as difficult as you fear it will be, but it still requires organizational skills and a considerable investment of time. You probably will not have to deal with disputes about undue influence or long-lost distant relatives coming out of the woodwork, lured by promises of riches through the sales pitches of unscrupulous estate research firms. You probably will not get any surprisingly large claims from creditors that require you to sell assets from the estate and leave the beneficiaries with a paltry inheritance. You will, however, need to complete the estate inventory, and the deadline for doing so is relatively short. According to Maryland law, you have three months, starting from the date that the court formally appoints you as personal representative of the estate, to file the completed estate inventory form with the court. A Washington DC probate lawyer can help you with the estate inventory and your other duties as personal representative of a deceased person’s estate.
Which Assets to Include in the Estate Inventory
The purpose of the estate inventory form is to inform the court of all the assets belonging to the estate of the decedent, since these are the assets that the probate court will use to satisfy the decedent’s outstanding debts, if any, and which it will eventually distribute to the beneficiaries at the end of the probate process. In other words, it is the financial disclosures stage of probate.
If the decedent’s will included up-to-date details about all of the decedent’s assets, or at least indications of where to find up-to-date information about the assets, then the task of preparing the estate inventory is much simpler. If the will simply says something along the lines of, “My daughter Amy, my son Blake, and my brother Carl are to inherit equal shares of my estate,” then you have a more difficult task of figuring out exactly what the decedent owned.
On the estate inventory form, you should list all of the decedent’s assets except those specifically exempt from probate. You should list the decedent’s real estate properties, bank accounts, business holdings, investment accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities, whether these assets are in Maryland or elsewhere. If the decedent was owed money from an employer or from someone to whom he or she had lent money, also include this information on the estate inventory.
Which Assets Do You Not Have to List on the Estate Inventory Form?
The estate inventory should include probate assets only. One of the cornerstones of estate planning is to organize your assets so that some of them do not go through probate, since they are not legally part of your estate. If the decedent held assets in trust or designated payable on death beneficiaries for bank accounts, you should not list these non-probate assets on the estate inventory form.
Contact Tobin O’Connor & Ewing About Estate Inventory
A probate lawyer can help you locate a recently deceased relative’s assets and assess the value of these assets. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help today.