Fm:GA How detailed is the administrators inventory of an intestate indebted estate supposed to be? Every dish,piece of clothing, piece of silverware (none of which is valued even at market (or is it)?
Estate Planning Attorney
The statute on this topic is quite vague. Georgia law states in part, "the personal representative shall prepare an inventory of all the property of the decedent." OCGA 53-7-30. As such, the detail required on the inventory is probably in the discretion of the court. I recommend a reasonableness approach. Listing every dish separately is probably too much detail. However, listing "property of decedent - value $300,000.00" is probably too vague.
The court should be able to provide you with a standard form for inventory for the county. In the counties where I practice, the form lists real property separate from personal property. Under the "personal property" category, bank and savings accounts are each listed separately, stocks and bonds listed separately, automobilies and life insurance also have category headings. With regard to personal property, clothing, etc. I usually show it as a group. Following this approach will likely put you on solid ground as far as the court is concerned. That is, the court is not likely to return it to you and ask you to re-do the inventory.
The amount of detail you put in the inventory from a practical perspective, however, depends upon a number of factors. The answers to questions such as, "are the heirs/beneficiaries of the estate likely to raise questions as to my activities?", "how much debt is owed by the estate? and who are the creditors?", "how many people knew the decedent? and is he/she notable or do people have reason to search court records?" may cause the executor/administrator to be more descriptive or more vague.
In any event, it is important to be as complete as possible and if property is discovered after the filing of the initial inventory, the administrator should file an amended inventory.
Regarding values, fair market value at the time of death is probably the best value to use, although I'm not sure that specific valuation is required by the Georgia statute.
In sum, meeting the minimum legal standard probably just requires reasonableness in terms of detail, but other factors may motivate the executor/administrator to provide more or less detail depending upon the sought-after goal.
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The Administrator will file an inventory based upon whatever he thinks makes sense. Any heir can object as to the details missing. The problem that you wind up with is that you have to convince a court that the inventory does not accurately portray the estate assets. The court may well tell you that you are free to conduct a more detailed inventory at your expense and then the court will decide if the enhanced inventory was worth your investment in a firm to conduct that inventory for you. Any inventory should at least be broken into major categories; such as real estate, bank accoutns, household furnishings, automobiles, etc.