One of the personal representative’s tasks is to complete what the law calls an inventory of the estate.
Legally, a personal representative may file an inventory 3 or more months after receiving a formal appointment. Courts in some cases may waive the requirement for an inventory.
However, if the estate wants to take advantage of New Jersey’s exemption from claims against the estate, the personal representative will have to file an inventory within 3 months of the formal appointment.
In order to complete an inventory, the personal representative will have to identify all of the assets the estate legally owns.
To give an example, if there was a bank account or investment property solely in the name of the person who died, those properties would need to go onto the inventory which the personal representative would file with the court.
Inventories will also have to include an appraisal of the property
New Jersey law also requires that all property listed on the inventory be appraised.
Speaking generally, this means that the personal representative has the responsibility to give an objective estimate of every piece of property’s value. The inventory should give the court and the heirs a good idea of what is in the estate and what the overall estate is worth.
Personal representatives who have detailed questions about submitting an inventory should consider speaking with an experienced estate administration professional.
Filing an inventory can be a complicated process.
Moreover, the consequences of not doing it correctly can be significant. It can lead to penalties from the court, the personal representative’s removal and civil liability for the personal representative.
Finally, filing an inventory is only one of many important legal steps in the process of estate administration.