You are a recently appointed executor and your attorney informs you that you now need to prepare an inventory of the decedent’s assets along with the date of death values. If you are lucky, the decedent kept meticulous financial records that you were able to find. The reality is that very few people keep such records and if they do, you may not be able to access the information (assuming that the information is on computer and password protected).
As executor you will want to have the mail forwarded to you and this is a good way to discover information; however, more and more people are going the paperless route. Another obvious place to look is in the decedent’s home. If you can, you will want to see if there are any computer records. Income tax returns are always a good source of financial information.Even if you are thorough, it is not uncommon that an asset may turn up after you have filed your inventory. Fortunately, it is easy to report a newly discovered asset. Finally, our office as a routine matter when we open estates, always checks for unclaimed funds in the states where the decedent spent time.