Tennessee probate requires the personal representative (executor) to log an inventory of the estate within the first 60 days of the beginning of their administration. The inventory consists of all assets and debts of the estate.
If the decedent performed some estate planning before death it can be easier to find this information but there are often items that where overlooked and still must be accounted for. The decedent’s last tax return can reveal some of the assets and debts. Over time, additional assets and debts turn up through various ways.
Tennessee estates typically have assets such as:
- Finances -The executor must locate all bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, and brokerage accounts. Banks require a certified copy of the death certificate for access to the amounts held. Other finances to include are certificates of deposit, savings bonds, annuities, stocks, mutual funds, IRAs, and 401(k)s. Also, include all cash available and expected income, such as dividends, and final paychecks.
- Real Estate – When the estate includes real property, the executor must locate the deed. Determining the value of the real estate can be tricky and it is often helpful to work with a real estate professional for accuracy. Property tax information, insurance records, and mortgage information must be located and provided.
- Vehicles – Executors are responsible for finding the titles of any cars, motorcycles, boats, RV’s, or any other vehicles owned by the decedent. The value of the vehicles can be found using Kelly Blue Book. Make note of any existing car loans.
- Personal Property – This list compiled by the executor contains any personal property considered valuable. Items like jewelry, furniture, artwork, and other valuables must be assigned an estimated value. Photos or videos help support the record.
- Omitted Assets – Certain assets can be left out of the inventory by the executor if they were jointly held or can pass to the beneficiary automatically. Property held in a trust, joint bank accounts with a surviving partner, retirement plans and life insurance that have a living beneficiary, Joint brokerage accounts, joint titles and deeds, and any transfer-on-death accounts.
Tennessee estate debts include:
- Car or personal loans
- Outstanding credit card bills
- Any unpaid loan balances
Utility bills, rent payments, and other minor bills should be paid by the estate while it’s being settled and are not inventoried as debts.
Sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know. If assigning values to items or locating the proper documents seems too stressful, contact a professional. If you have questions relating to probate or real estate, contact me for a no-cost assessment of your situation.