What Is an Inventory?

The Personal Representative’s inventory of estate assets identifies each of the estate’s assets, determines the date-of-decedent’s-death fair market value of each such asset, determines any liens, mortgages, or encumbrances upon any asset, and states all this information in a form that segregates the following five categories:  real property by legal description, stocks and bonds, mortgages, notes and other written evidences of debt, bank accounts and money, and furniture and household goods.  RCW 11.44.015(1).

Any interested party may request an inventory of the estate assets after ninety days have elapsed since filing of the decedent's Will.  The inventory may, but need not be filed, in the probate cause of action.  However, if an heir, legatee, devisee, unpaid creditor, beneficiary of a nonprobate asset, or the Department of Revenue submits a written request for the inventory, the personal representative must provide a copy of the inventory to that person within ten days.  RCW 11.44.015(2).  The inventory must be amended within thirty days if further property comes to the attention of the personal representative, and a copy supplied to any person who has requested a copy of the original inventory.  RCW 11.44.025.

Failure to provide an inventory when requested is cause for the court to revoke the letters of the personal representative, who shall be liable on his bond for damages to the person requesting the inventory.  RCW 11.44.050.

If, at the time of the decedent’s death, the personal representative owed any obligation to the decedent, that sum shall be included in the inventory as an asset of the estate and shall not be discharged except upon payment of the sum.  RCW 11.44.085.  If the decedent in her Will forgives debts of any beneficiary, those obligations shall be included in the inventory, and shall not prevail against creditors of the estate, but the sums forgiven shall be specific bequests and shall abate as any other gifts made under the Will in the statutory order of abatement.  RCW 11.44.090.