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Filing an inventory for an estate

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Probate |

One major piece of the probate process in North Carolina involves filing an inventory for the decedent’s estate. The decedent is the person who died and the executor of the estate is the person responsible for filing the inventory.

The inventory process involves locating and valuing the decedent’s assets. This is important because it allows the estate to be divided properly and ensures that the beneficiaries will receive their correct portion of the decedent’s estate.

If you are the executor, this may seem like a complicated and daunting task. You may have many questions about how to perform the inventory and when you must complete it by. This is normal, especially if you have never served as an executor before.

There is a deadline involved in the North Carolina inventory process. The inventory is due within three months of the decedent’s death. Therefore, the inventory is sometimes called the 90-day inventory.

What does an inventory include?

An inventory lists all the decedent’s assets, which include real estate, personal property, bank accounts and any other assets in their possession at the time of their death. The inventory list must include the value for each asset. The value should reflect what the value was at the time of their death, not the date of completing or filing the inventory.

You can generally use an inventory form to create this list. However, North Carolina law only requires this form if the estate is worth more than $20,000. There is a simplified process for estates that are less than $20,000. Rather than an inventory form, you may fill out an affidavit for collection of personal property.

What information do I need?

When you must fill out the inventory form, be sure to have certain information about the decedent. Aside from basic information such as their name and the county they resided in, you must have a complete list of their assets ready.

Assets include both sole and joint accounts. If there are jointly held investments, you must have the value of only the percentage they owned.

Once the form is complete, you must sign it in the presence of a notary before filing it with the court. There are also some other documents you must complete and file, involving notice to the decedent’s creditors and estate taxes. As with inventory filing, these require specific information about the decedent and have their own deadlines.

In theory, this process should be simple, although time-consuming. However, you may encounter complications. For example, a beneficiary may disagree with a value on your inventory list or claim you left certain assets out. These are serious accusations because they could claim you are trying to steal funds from the estate.

Serving as an executor and trying to take care of all these responsibilities can feel confusing and overwhelming as you grieve the death of a loved one. Having guidance through the process can help you stay on track.