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By: Scott Grossman on January 30th, 2018

Correctly putting together an Inventory and Appraisal

Correctly putting together an Inventory and Appraisal, sometimes it is also called an “I&A”

The inventory and appraisal is a mandatory document that has to be filed in every California probate case. So there’s a rule that says you have to (and yes you have to get it done) but there are pragmatic reasons that you want to do it well.

The first of those reasons is you’ll never be able to close probate if you don’t have an accurate inventory & appraisal.

The inventory and appraisal is the document that tells the court (and frankly, it tells the world) what assets were in the probate estate the day that your loved one passed away. If this is off if you either report property that really wasn’t part of the estate or you’ve neglected to put the property on that is (that you later want to distribute) if it’s not on the inventory & appraisal, you’re not going to be able to do an accurate account. Without an accurate account, good luck closing out your probate.

Now, the second pragmatic reason is:  if you’re doing probate and there is no will, in other words, if you have an intestate estate, what’s on the inventory and appraisal can affect how the estate gets distributed.

And the reason for that is when you do an inventory and appraisal, each and every item has to be declared either community property or separate property. So, if you have somebody who is in a second marriage or even a later marriage and there’s some separate property in some community property that makes a big difference, that really is going to affect the children. Because anything that’s community property, that’s going to go to the surviving spouse. Anything that is separate property, a portion of that is going to go to the spouse and a portion of that is going to go to the kids. And of course, depending upon the values, that can have a big financial impact on the people that are involved.

And the last pragmatic reason you want to get it right is if you’re in charge of the estate is that the inventory and appraisal is the basis for determining the fees that you’ll be paid either as the executor or as an administrator of the estate.

So, you want to get it right. If this is a large estate, you want to make sure that everything is on it that everything has been appraised. And frankly, there’s a lot of work that you’re going to do you want to make sure that you get paid according to the fee schedule and get everything that you’re entitled to. So in addition to it being absolutely required, remember there are pragmatic reasons for getting your inventory and appraisal right. If you need to do probate or have questions about completing probate, do not hesitate to contact us today!