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Inventory Assets

After qualification by the Probate Court, the personal representative is responsible to report an inventory of assets and periodic accounting of disbursements to the Commissioner of Accounts. Section 26-8 of the Virginia Code as amended.

Purpose of inventory. The purpose of the inventory is to identify estate assets which the personal representative is responsible to preserve for the beneficiaries and creditors, and avoid waste. Distributions of inventoried assets are disclosed in accountings to the Commissioner of Accounts.

The personal representative’s duty as to the inventoried assets is discharged by a final accounting of the transfer or sale of all the assets. Disbursements are prudent generally when the accounting shows conversion to cash, payment of creditors, or distribution to the beneficiaries.

Personal representative, or probate counsel or together handle preparation of inventory and accounting.

Statutory requirements-a walk through § 26-12 et seq. of the Virginia Code a checklist of action items.

Obtain fiduciary form and instructions CC-1670. The most current form [enabled with fill and print] can be downloaded from Hard copy of the form is typically provided the clerk of the probate court granting administration.

Decide who files? The personal representative [or trustee of a testamentary trust embedded within a will without inventory waiver where the trustee qualifies] shall file an inventory within four [4] months after the date of the order qualifying the person as PR.

Look for exceptions-an inventory shall not be required of a personal representative who qualifies for the sole purpose of bringing a wrongful death action unless there is no surviving relative designated as a plaintiff and the court directs that the funds recovered in such action be paid to the personal representative for distribution according to law.

The clerk may waive inventory for estate under $15,000, unless the personal representative has power of sale over of the deceased’s realty. Va. Code § 26-12.3

Where to file inventory? The inventory is filed with the Commissioner of Accounts located in the jurisdiction of residency of the deceased. Property located out of the commonwealth may be subject to an ancillary probate in the other state but the Virginia inventory generally is not filed.

Va. Code § 26-12.2. Upon receiving the inventory, the Commissioner shall, under the provisions of Va. Code § 26-14, inspect it, see that it is in proper form, and file it within 10 days after it is approved.

What is the filing fee? The fee is graduated, and for all estates having assets in excess of $200,000 the fee is $150. Check for local customers and refer to uniform fee schedule guidelines for Commissioner of Accounts (Judicial Council of Virginia 1996)

What assets do you inventory? The inventory includes the deceased personal estate under the personal representative’s supervision and control, the decedent's interest in any multiple party accounts in any financial institution, all real estate over which the personal representative has the power of sale and any other real estate that is an asset of the decedent's estate, whether or not situated in the Commonwealth.

Penalties. Failure to timely file an inventory can lead in extreme cases to a fine or contempt.

What is your continuing obligation? Assets discovered or received by a fiduciary after filing an inventory shall be disclosed within 4 months of discovery by filing an amended inventory showing all assets of the estate or trust or an additional inventory showing only the after discovered assets or, with the permission of the Commissioner of Accounts, by showing the after-discovered assets on the estate's next regular accounting. VA Code §26-12.

Who do you serve inventory? The personal representative serves an inventory or amended inventory by first class mail and certificated [showing names, addresses] in writing to the surviving spouse of the decedent, if any; all heirs at law of the decedent, whether or not there is a will; all living and ascertained beneficiaries under the will of the decedent and all living and ascertained beneficiaries under any will of the decedent previously probated in the same court. See Va Code § 26.12.4

Is there a time-frame for approval by commissioner? At least 21 days after filing must pass before a Commissioner of Accounts shall approve any personal representative's inventory. Estate assets must be valued at fair market. Value for disclosure in the inventory

Use estimated value as of the date of death of decedent. Prior to filing the inventory, true valuations may not be known and the inventory should be amended appropriately thereafter. 

Assets Listed 

Real Property Use tax assessment for non-estate taxable estate. Taxable estates require valuations by appraisal.

Real property subject to power of sale. The inventory includes any interest in real estate located in Virginia in which the decedent had an interest at the time of his or her death and over which the personal representative has a power of sale.[and all property outside of the Commonwealth irrespective of personal representative’s powers]  Express grant in the will of the powers enumerated in Va. Code § 64.1-57, or by order of the court pursuant to Va. Code § 64.1-57.1. This lists real property owned by the decedent which is specifically devised to a beneficiary. 

Non-Virginia real propertyReal Property List real estate not located in Virginia in which the decedent had an interest, including real estate located outside the state.

Personal property. All personal property in which the decedent had an interest that didnot pass by survivorship or by terms of a written document to another party upon the decedent’s death. Assets included in this category are accounts at financial institutions and banks in decedent’s name.

Multiple-party accounts. Joint with right of survivorship or payable on death are valued and disclosed for banks and credit unions but not brokerage accounts. In certain circumstance, creditors can attach deceased survivorship interest in a bank account.

Brokerage Assets jointly titled with right of survivorship are excluded from inventory Life insurance payable directly to a beneficiary or an entity other than the estate or the estate’s personal representative. Request Form 712 death proceeds payable from insurance company, as well as identification of designed beneficiaries Tangible personal property; and interests in partnerships or in a sole proprietorship.