An inventory of probate assets will need to be filed with the court in the process of probating the will. The first step for the executor or administrator is to gather information on what assets exist. For real estate, ownership should be confirmed first via review of deed or a title search. If the home is not promptly sold, it should be appraised to obtain an accurate value. Be sure to inventory the contents of the home as well. This is particularly important if the will provides for specific bequests of personal property such as jewelry, collections or automobiles. For bank accounts and securities, statements should be obtained from the financial institution or broker.
For retirement-type accounts, a good place to start is with the prior employer if documentation cannot be found otherwise. Same rule applies for life insurance policies as they may have been offered as a benefit of employment as well. You will need documentation to support the date of death values for all probate assets. The inventory should be filed within nine (9) months of the death of the decedent. An inventory provides useful in preparing the inheritance tax return which is also due within nine (9) months. Finally, the inventory comes in handy in closing out the estate and preparing an accounting if necessary.