This is the sixth in a series of posts on the basics of D.C. probate administration. You can read previous posts in this series including Part I: high-level differences between Virginia and D.C. estate administrations (here), Part II: qualifying to be a D.C. personal representative (here), and Part III: Opening the Estate (here), Part IV: Supervised/Unsupervised (here), and Part V: Notice and VCNO (here).
This post will describe the need and importance of the inventory. The basic premise behind the need for an inventory is to determine the assets and liabilities and there values on the date the decedent died. Whether the estate is supervised or unsupervised will determine the amount of detail a personal representative will need to provide and whether the inventory will need to be filed with the Court.
The inventory for a supervised estate shall be filed within three months from the date of the personal representative’s appointment. Further, within fifteen days of filing the inventory, the personal representative must mail a copy of the inventory and a notice that the inventory will be filed with the court on or before a stated date. There is a prescribed inventory form for a supervised estate published by the Auditor-Master (here).
The inventory in a supervised estate lists each item of property owned by the decedent at the time of his or her death, reflecting the fair market value of the property as of the date of death and any encumbrance on such property. If it is a supervised estate, the inventory shall include:
- Tangible personal property;
- Real property (showing rents owed before the date of death);
- Corporate stocks;
- Debts owed to the decedent, including bonds and notes, bank accounts, savings accounts, and cash;
- Bank accounts, building association shares, savings and loan association accounts, and money;
- Debts owed to the decedent by the personal representative; and
- Any other interest in property, tangible or intangible, that passes by the terms of the will or by the laws of intestacy.
There are two ways an inventory does not have to be filed with the Register of Wills. The first is if the decedent’s last will and testament expressly waives the need to file an inventory. The other way an inventory filing can be waived is if all interested persons waive the need to file said inventory with the Court. If need to filing an account is also waive, in all practical purposes, this converts a supervised estate into an unsupervised estate.
If the estate is unsupervised, the personal representative shall, within three months of appointment, prepare an inventory, listing the decedent’s property in reasonable detail, indicating the fair market value as of the date of the decedent’s death, and the type and amount of any encumbrance existing with respect to the assets. There is no proscribed form to follow for an unsupervised inventory. The inventory must still be mailed to any interested persons within that three month period.
In simple terms, the account is like balancing a check book and the personal representative is the person in charge of that balancing. And, I will get into the requirements for the account next time.