Once Letters of Administration have been entered by the court, the personal representative can now act on the estate’s behalf. For instance, this allows the personal representative to close the bank accounts and have the proceeds placed in the estate account.

Once all of the known assets are gathered, the personal representative has sixty (60) days to file an inventory with the court. The court can allow the personal representative more time to find all of the assets if needed. The estate inventory values all probate assets as of the date of death, including bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real property and personal property. Formal appraisals on certain items may be required.

The inventory is very important because it will show all existing assets and will show where the assets are distributed when the estate is finalized. The inventory is shared with the estate beneficiaries, which gives them the ability to contest its accuracy.

Remember, the inventory will only cover the probate assets, not those assets that would otherwise avoid probate!

The personal representative is required to gather the property for accounting and distribution purposes. In this process, most attorneys have the personal representative close and/or liquidate the decedent’s bank accounts, certificates of deposit and other financial accounts and place them into an estate account retained by the attorney’s office. Most attorneys do this for accounting purposes and for final distribution. This is an extremely efficient system and is helpful to all parties. From this account, the attorney will pay all debts, ongoing costs and make distributions once the estate is complete.

D. Rep DeLoach III
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Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney