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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Carol Anne Johnson

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . 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,... more
  2. Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . 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... more
  3. Charles Adam Shultz

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . 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... more
  4. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . 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. ******... more

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