The inventory, appraisement, and list of claims (“inventory”) is a document that must be filed in many probate proceedings, including administrations of decedents’ estates and guardianship estates. Fortunately for the person compiling the information, the inventory is not a detailed listing of each item but provides a general summary of real and personal property items in the estate, as well as any claims owing to the estate (any money that will be coming to the estate).
The purpose of the inventory is to allow the court to determine what property is subject to the court’s authority, and what the representative of the estate is responsible for handling. Beneficiaries and creditors of the estate also benefit from the inventory by seeing the property that may be coming to them. In the cases of guardianship estates or dependent administrations, it provides useful information for the court in setting the bond amount.
In valuing the property for the inventory, the values that must be used are the date of death values for decedents’ estates, or the date letters of guardianship were issued for guardianships. A formal appraisal of property for the inventory is rarely necessary and is typically used only in cases where the property is believed to have significant value. Real property values are usually adequately reflected by the county’s appraisal district. The values reflected on the inventory are not held to be a concrete value but are required to be a good faith estimate by the administrator or guardian.