If you are the executor, personal representative or administrator of an estate, or the
successor trustee of a living trust, you can use Pennybornís free Estate Property form to create an organized record of all personal property and other belongings in the deceased personís estate or living trust.
You will probably need a record of all estate property to prepare an inventory for purposes of probate or reporting to trust beneficiaries. You should also use a financial management software program to put accounting and financial records in order.If you are making a will or living trust, you can use Pennybornís free Estate Property form to make an organized list of your own personal property and other belongings to help you decide how to distribute your property among your heirs, beneficiaries, or charitable organizations. This can be especially useful if you are trying to determine whether to make specific bequests in a will or living trust. You may print one copy of the Estate Property form shown below for your personal use.
For a list of free estate planning forms available on our website, see free estate plan forms.
If you are the executor, personal representative or administrator of an estate, or the successor trustee of a living trust, consult a probate lawyer for advice on how to probate an estate or settle a trust. If you are making an estate plan, consult an estate planning attorney for assistance drafting your estate planning documents.
Other Ways to Document Estate Property
Sometimes there is a need to make an additional record of property in the estate. For example, if you are concerned a particular heir or beneficiary is going to claim certain property is missing from the estate, you may want additional documentation to support your inventory of estate property. It is not uncommon for heirs to claim valuable personal property is missing from an estate. See
inheritance theft. The executor or trustee can be in a very difficult position when such claims are made.In addition to completing the Estate Property Form and creating an inventory of property in the estate, it may be helpful to take photographs of all personal property in the estate. By using a digital camera, you can easily photograph furniture, artwork, jewelry, housewares, collectibles, vehicles, and other property in the estate. You can print the photos to use as a reference when creating an inventory of the estate or store the photos on a flash drive.Taking photos to document the property in the estate is especially useful if the estate includes a large collection of similar items, such as a gun collection, a large amount of jewelry or other collectibles of a similar size and type. Because writing a detailed description of each individual item may be difficult, taking photos of estate property will make it easier to create the documentation necessary to
administer a trust or estate.Taking photographs of your personal property is also a good idea if you are making an estate plan. By creating a visual record of your property, you will have a better vision of what may cause a dispute among your heirs. See
will and trust disputes. This may be helpful in deciding how to make specific bequests in your will or trust and in deciding how to distribute your estate. Finally, taking photographs of the property in your estate is useful for insurance purposes if you ever need to file an insurance claim. Store the photos and your flash drive in a safe, file cabinet or safe deposit box.
Family Memorabilia and Your Estate Plan
If you are creating an organized list or inventory of all the property in your estate, have you included your family memorabilia on the list? Many people do not realize the value of old postcards, letters, photos, and other mementos passed down from one generation to the next. Have you considered how you want these items to be handled by your estate?
As many executors and trustees will tell you, even the most valuable items of family memorabilia are often tossed in the trash without any consideration for what they meant to the decedent or the monetary value they may represent to the estate. If your children or other heirs do not understand the value of certain items in your estate, they may not even be aware of how to handle these items when your estate is administered. To learn more about how to include your family memorabilia when making an estate plan, see