How an executor can check for estate assets

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

An executor for an estate has the responsibility to locate all the assets that belong to the estate. This task requires thoroughness and attention to detail to ensure that no valuable property, funds or investments are overlooked.

Properly locating these assets helps in managing the estate efficiently and distributing it according to the wishes of the decedent.

Estate documents

An obvious place to check for assets is to look at the will of the decedent, or the estate inventory if the decedent created one. A will often lists many of the properties and other assets, so it provides a clear starting point. An estate inventory, if available, can offer a comprehensive overview of assets, making the job of the executor easier and more organized.

Financial statements and records

An executor should examine important papers that might contain clues about assets. Financial statements from banks, investment accounts and retirement funds can reveal the existence of significant assets. Tax returns often list income from various sources, indicating the presence of assets such as dividends from stocks or rental income from properties.

Property ownership

An executor can perform a public property records search to find real estate owned by the decedent. Additionally, searching through abandoned asset databases can uncover unclaimed property or forgotten accounts that belong to the estate.

Other search methods

The home where the decedent had lived may offer undiscovered evidence of assets. Stock certificates, investment papers, or even physical items of value may be hidden away in drawers, safes or filing cabinets. Personal records, letters and receipts can also provide valuable information not documented elsewhere.

An executor must be diligent and methodical in locating property belonging to an estate. This helps ensure an accounting of all available assets. This process supports the effective management and fair distribution of the estate,  as well as helps promote confidence in beneficiaries who will inherit from it.