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Inventory of a Decedent’s Estate: What Do We Need?

As difficult as it may be to think about, there may come a time when you have to deal with the estate of a loved one who has passed away.

When this happens, you will have to take inventory of their belongings to ensure all assets are accounted for and distributed properly. But where do you even start?

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on inventory requirements for estate administration. For more information or help to sort out your loved one’s affairs, contact our estate planning attorneys at Cary Estate Planning today.

What is the 90-day Inventory in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, as the executor of a decedent’s estate, you must file an inventory of all assets within 90 days of being appointed by the court (Form AOC-E-505). This inventory must include a detailed list of all assets, as well as their estimated values.

It’s important to note that this inventory must be filed with the court and provided to all interested parties, including heirs and beneficiaries. This allows for transparency in the estate administration process and ensures that all parties know the assets involved.

Filing a comprehensive inventory within the required timeframe can be complex and time-consuming. However, failure to comply with this requirement can result in legal consequences, such as fines or removal from the executor position.

At Cary Estate Planning, we can provide the guidance and support you need to ensure that the 90-day inventory requirement is met properly and efficiently.

What’s Included in the Inventory?

The inventory of a decedent’s estate should include a comprehensive list of all assets and their estimated values. This should cover both real property (land and buildings), and personal property (movable possessions like a vehicle).

Some examples of items that should be included in this list are:

  • Real estate, including any homes, land, or commercial properties
  • Bank accounts, including checking, savings, and investment accounts
  • Vehicles, including cars, boats, and other recreational vehicles
  • Stocks, bonds, and other investment assets
  • Personal property, such as jewelry, art, and collectibles
  • Life insurance policies and retirement accounts

It’s important to note that the value of these assets should be estimated as of the date of the decedent’s death. This ensures that the inventory accurately reflects the estate’s value at the time of the decedent’s passing.

Preparing to Take Inventory

When it comes to inventorying a decedent’s estate, the first step is determining what property they owned. You must obtain copies of account documents from banks and other institutions that held any of these assets for the deceased person. They should also review income tax records for additional property sources not listed in official documents.

Creating a spreadsheet listing all known assets with their current value when the decedent died can be helpful. This will help keep track of changes in ownership over time since some assets may need to be sold off while others are transferred directly to beneficiaries. If debts were owed by the decedent at the time of death, those should also be noted on this list so they can be settled appropriately during probate proceedings.

Valuing the Assets

Establishing the estate’s value requires careful consideration and attention to detail to ensure accuracy for tax returns related to the estate.

Here are the steps you should take to establish the value of the estate:

  1. Consider tangible assets. Begin by assessing the decedent’s physical items, such as real estate, investments, jewelry, artwork, vehicles, or other assets. To determine the value of these items, consult experts in the relevant fields who are familiar with market rates and recent sales data. This will provide an accurate estimate of each asset’s worth at the time of the decedent’s death.
  2. Calculate liabilities. Determine any liabilities associated with the estate, such as outstanding debt on credit cards or mortgages on properties. Subtract this amount from the total net worth of the estate before moving forward with further calculations. It’s also important to consider any outstanding taxes due from previous years, which would need to be paid off using funds from the estate if possible.
  3. Tally up remaining amounts. After calculating tangible assets and liabilities, add up all remaining amounts, including income received within one year before the decedent’s passing and any money left in bank accounts or other financial instruments like stocks and bonds.

Once you have everything totaled, you’ll know the wealth acquired during the decedent’s lifetime and can move forward with ensuring accuracy for estate tax returns.

Trust Cary Estate Planning for a Smooth and Stress-Free Estate Inventory Process

The inventory of a decedent’s estate is an important step in ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are honored. You must carefully document, value, and distribute all assets to their designated beneficiaries. It can be overwhelming for those involved, but it can be done successfully with proper guidance and support.

At Cary Estate Planning, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the complex process of taking inventory of a decedent’s estate. With our guidance, you can ensure that all assets are properly identified, valued, and distributed according to your wishes or those of your loved ones.

Don’t leave the important task of taking an estate inventory to chance. Trust Cary Estate Planning to provide you with a smooth and stress-free process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

Author Bio

Paul Yokabitus

Paul Yokabitus is the CEO and Managing Partner of Cary Estate Planning, a Cary, NC, estate planning law firm. With years of experience in estate and elder law, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including estate planning, guardianship, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and other cases.

Paul received his Juris Doctor from the Campbell University School of Law and is a North Carolina Bar Association member. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Best Attorney in Cary” in 2016 and 2017 by Cary News and Rising Star in 2020-2023 by Super Lawyers.

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