Skip to main content

When a trust specifies a home's contents is to be divided - is it necessary to make an inventory?

Miami, FL |

the trust specifically states that items of little or no apparent value may be donated -- what items should be inventoried in a normal home - (furniture, dishes, clothes, appliances, collectibles/odd pieces of crystal, china, etc)? There is no expensive artwork, etc

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    I typically have my clients make an inventory of items that can later be valued or determined to be of no value (NV) and which can then be disposed of according to the grantor's wishes. For the items of NV, I encourage the trustee to allow the beneficiaries to take a look at the items and select those that might be of sentimental value to them, before making donations of or discarding the remaining property. It is always best to have a sign-off sheet that each beneficiary can sign to indicate that they are agreeable to the NV items being donated/disposed of. It can avoid trouble later down the road when Aunt Bessie's favorite rolling pin goes to the thrift store instead of to her niece. Where there are any collectible items that the rest of the family may not want, a local estate retailer can be brought in to offer a value on the pieces and/or purchase them from the estate.

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.


  2. This question really depends on the fiduciary's view of how the beneficiaries get along. If everyone's happy with a division of tangible personal property among family members, with the rest being donated to charity, then there's no need to inventory furniture, clothes, etc. If, however, people are upset with each other, then a full inventory will be needed to avoid litigation in the future. Yes, unfortunately, people do litigate over tangibles. Good luck to you and your family.

    This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


  3. This varies. The amount of specificity needed post death is dependent on the beneficiaries and how contentious you expect things to be. If there is pretty good relations, and this is not a taxable estate (5.25M), you may be able to be a bit more laxed.

    The inventory itself for purposes of distribution should try to list all items separately but may group items (such as non-collectible books, everyday day dishes, glasses, silverware, clothes, costume jewerly). Furs if any (doubtful since you're in south florida), china, crytal sets, appliances, watches, any jewelry (not costume)

    Not, as trustee, you can be second guessed so dont just act because you have the power.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.


  4. I agree with my colleagues. It has been my experience that this varies from county to county, at least, here in Michigan. Some counties do not verify the values of any assets. Some insist on your having an appraisal done on all of the assets. There is not much uniformity of practice on this issue in Michigan. Florida mileage may vary a great deal, however. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to consult with a probate attorney in the county where the estate is being administered.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Wills and estates topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics