It is important to understand the legal requirements when it comes to estate administration.
Filing the inventory, appraisement, and list of claims of the estate is a crucial step that must be taken within 90 days after qualification. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences, including the removal of the personal representative and a fine of up to $1,000.
What is the Inventory and What Should it Include?
The inventory rules are set out in Texas Estates Code, Section 309.051, which outlines the requirements for filing the inventory.
As mentioned earlier, the inventory is a sworn statement that lists all the estate’s real property located in Texas and personal property, regardless of where it is located. The inventory should specify which part of the property is separate property and which part is community property. Additionally, the personal representative must provide an appraisement of the fair market value of each item on the date of the decedent’s death, and a list of claims owed to the decedent.
To ensure that the inventory is complete and accurate, it is important to engage the services of a qualified appraiser who can value the estate’s assets in a professional and impartial manner. The appraiser should be able to provide detailed reports that can be attached to the inventory and presented to the court.
The inventory has to be verified. This means that the personal representative must also attach an affidavit stating that the inventory is a true and complete statement of the property and claims of the estate of which the representative has knowledge. This affidavit must be signed by the personal representative and notarized.
It is important to note that the personal representative is responsible for the accuracy of the inventory and the affidavit, and can face legal liability for any errors or omissions. Therefore, it is crucial to review the inventory and affidavit thoroughly before submitting them to the court.
Approval or Disapproval by the Judge
Once the inventory is filed with the court clerk, the judge will examine and either approve or disapprove it. If the judge disapproves it, an order will be entered requiring the filing of an amended inventory within a period specified in the order, not to exceed 20 days after the date the order is entered.
To avoid delays and additional costs associated with the filing of an amended inventory, it is important to ensure that the initial inventory is complete and accurate. Working closely with a qualified attorney who is experienced in probate matters can help to ensure that the inventory meets all legal requirements and is more likely to be approved by the judge.
Consequences of Failing to File the Inventory
The consequences of failing to file the inventory within 90 days after qualification can be severe. The personal representative can be removed from their position, and may face a fine of up to $1,000. Additionally, the failure to file the inventory can delay the probate process, and result in additional legal costs and expenses.
Filing an Affidavit in Lieu of the Inventory
For decedents who passed away after September 1, 2011, an independent executor may file an affidavit stating that all debts, except for secured debts, taxes, and administration expenses, are paid, and all beneficiaries have received a verified, full, and detailed inventory in lieu of the inventory. This affidavit must be filed within 90 days of qualification, unless extended.
While filing an affidavit may seem like a simpler and less time-consuming process than filing an inventory, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney to determine if this option is available and appropriate for your specific situation. It should be noted that the inventory still has to be provided to the heirs/beneficiaries even if the affidavit in lieu of is used.
Filing the inventory is a crucial step in estate administration, and failure to do so can result in severe consequences. As a probate attorney, it is important to understand the legal requirements outlined in the Texas Estates Code section 309.051. By following these guidelines and ensuring that all necessary information is included in the inventory, you can help your clients navigate the probate process with confidence.
If you are facing probate issues in Texas, Kreig LLC offers a FREE attorney consultation by calling (281) 219-9090. Our experienced probate attorneys will work with you to provide the guidance and support you need during this difficult time.
Our Houston Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with inventories. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.
The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.