Taking Inventory of the Estate

As executor, you need to find out what assets are in the estate--and put a value on them.

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The central duty of an executor is to gather property and keep it safe until it can be handed over to the people who inherit it. But where do you start? Usually it's best to take an inventory. You don't need to count every teaspoon (unless they're sterling silver), but you do need to have a firm grasp on what's in the estate.

It will probably take a while to put together a complete picture of all the assets. You may find bank accounts you didn't know about, forgotten insurance policies, or cash stuffed in a drawer. Long-lost treasures may even turn up, though you're probably not going to be able to retire by selling heirlooms that have been sitting in the attic.

Serving as Executor? Nolo Can Help.

Find a local lawyer for advice or handle the estate yourself with nolo's award winning do-it-yourself legal books.

The Executor's Guide

The Executor's Guide

Settle an estate or trust with this all-in-one guide for executors. The Executor's Guide will help you make progress one step at a time through the unfamiliar land of legal procedures and terminology.

The Trustee's Legal Companion

The Trustee's Legal Companion

Learn the ins and outs of being a trustee with this guide for every trust administrator. The Trustee’s Legal Companion shows you exactly how to proceed within the terms of the trust and your state's law.

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