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To what extent do we really need to inventory possessions?

Vero Beach, FL |

My wife is the executrix of her mother's estate. Now that her mother has passed, she's has been told by a friend that she needs to inventory everything, down to the last "bobby pin and toothbrush." I say she only need concern herself with items of monetary value, and that there is no monetary value to personal toiletries, for example. To what extent do we really need to inventory possessions?

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Attorney answers 3


An inventory needs to be made of possessions only if a probate is filed. Seek legal help to determine what needs to be done and in what detail. In all likelihood toiletries and cleaning product and medications can be disposed of properly without maintaining them on the inventory.

The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual written documentation or having a conference to more fully explore the issues, this short answer has only limited application. Make sure to seek legal counsel and provide all documentation to get assistance in making informed legal choices.


I agree with Attorney Stein. Your wife's friend is being overly cautious, but if there are additional beneficiaries of your mother-in-law's estate, the friend's concerns may be valid. Certain personal toiletries, while they have no monetary value to an outsider, may have sentimental value to a family member. Just make sure that everyone is on the same page as to the disposal of those types of items, but for tax and probate purposes, only the items of value need to be inventoried.

My answer is of a general nature and should not be construed to be legal advice nor creating an attorney-client relationship. Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. practices in the area of Wills, Trusts, and Estates, Disability - with a particular focus on providing Special Needs Trusts for disabled children and adults.


Clearly, it is necessary to inventory anything with a market value over $500. The sentimental value of items is not a consideration. If there are specified items of personalty named and bequeathed in the residual estate, these items should be accounted for. The balance of items may be of concern to the family, but will in all likelihood have no effect on the valuation of the estate, which is the primary purpose of an inventory.

Hope this helped.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney

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