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Probate Estate Inventory Requirement, Process, and General ChecklistIf you are the administrator or executor of someone’s will, you have the responsibility of submitting the will to the court to begin the probate process. You are also responsible for protecting the property of the deceased until all debts are paid off and the remaining inheritance is passed to the beneficiaries. Each state has its own probate rules. One of the common requirements when probate is necessary is the preparation of an inventory of the deceased’s assets along with the value of those assets at the time of his or her death.

Tennessee probate law inventory requirement

Under Tennessee law, the personal representative of the estate is required to file a comprehensive inventory of the probate estate within 60 days from the time of being assigned as the personal representative of the estate. According to T.C.A. § 30-2-301(a):

“ The personal representative, within sixty (60) days after entering on the administration of a testate or intestate estate, shall make a complete and accurate inventory of the probate estate of the deceased, and return the inventory to the clerk of the court exercising probate jurisdiction in the county of the estate, and verify it by the personal representative’s oath before the clerk or before any person authorized by law to administer oaths in such cases whether within or without the borders of the state. When the will of the deceased excuses the requirement for making and filing an inventory of the estate, or when excused by all of the residuary distributees or legatees, no inventory shall be required of a solvent estate, unless demanded by any residuary distributee or legatee of the estate.”

The above-mentioned inventory must be filed with the clerk of the court under oath. In some cases, no inventory is required. An example includes when the will of the deceased specifically states the filing of an inventory is not necessary.

The inventory requirement can also be waived by the probate court when each of the residuary distributees or legatees (in other words, heirs) of the estate agree to waive the inventory requirement.

An inventory probate checklist will generally include the following types of assets:


An estate inventory checklist will generally include the financial assets the deceased owned. As the executor of the estate, you have the responsibility to locate all the deceased’s bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, and brokerage accounts. In order to discover the amounts held in each account, you will need to show the bank a certified copy of the death certificate. Among the items to be listed from this portion of the inventory of assets include certificates of deposit, savings bonds, annuities, IRAs, and 401(k)s. Also, include all cash available and expected income, such as dividends, and final paychecks.

Additional information to be listed includes the deceased’s debts, such as medical bills, student loans, credit card bills, child support, and alimony.


Identify the titles of any cars the deceased owned, including motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, and any other vehicles. Estimate the value of any cars using the Kelly Blue Book. Also, find out if the deceased had any outstanding vehicle loans.

Real estate

If the deceased was a homeowner or owned other real estate, you must find the deed to the property. The most recent assessment of the property for property taxes can generally serve as the value of the real estate. Alternatively, you may need to obtain a formal appraisal to establish the value of the property. Locate property tax information and homeowner insurance records. List any existing mortgage on the property, the name of the bank holding the mortgage, and the remaining balance owed.

Personal property

Include a list of the deceased’s personal property, encompassing household items. Photograph or record a video of the property to establish a clear record. Make an estimate of the value of any clothing, jewelry, artwork, furniture, or other personal belongings. A professional appraisal may be required for antiques, artwork, fine jewelry, and collectibles.

Excluded assets

Property jointly held and automatically passed to the survivor is not to be listed in the inventory of assets. These types of properties include joint bank accounts, retirement plans and life insurance with named beneficiaries, real estate jointly held, brokerage accounts jointly held, transfer-on-death accounts, and joint titles and deeds. Property held in a trust is also not to be included.

Our Chattanooga probate attorneys at Wagner & Wagner understand the importance of honoring your loved one upon death. We help you do so by coordinating with your personal representative to fulfill your loved one’s directions established in the will. For reliable guidance with matters of probate and will, call us today at 423-756-7923  or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We offer our services to individuals and families in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and throughout Tennessee.