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How to File an Estate’s Probate Inventory

The probate court will require the executor of an estate to file an inventory of all the decedent’s assets. Preparing this probate inventory should be the executor’s next step after finding the assets and valuing them. Check with your local probate court to verify proper procedures and deadlines for filing the inventory.

Your local probate court has an inventory form for you to use. If all the assets don’t fit, add additional sheets in the same format. Include any assets subject to probate on this inventory, including assets in the decedent’s name alone, held as a tenant in common, joint for convenience only, or payable to the estate. There is usually an inventory filing fee that the estate must pay.

Your court probably has a deadline for filing the inventory. Check to see how flexible this deadline is in practice. You may need extra time to collect and value the assets. This deadline will likely be close to the deadline for filing the estate tax return (nine months after date of death). In some states, the inventory must be filed before you can sell the real estate.

Be sure to use the sales price on your inventory. If you’re selling for less than inventory value, you may have a problem receiving any necessary license from the probate court. The inventory limits your liability as executor to the values shown on the inventory, if you have used market values as of the decedent’s date of death.

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