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Estate Inventory Listing

If you are an executor of someone’s Will, you will need to gather information of everything they owned at the date of death.  This Estate Inventory Listing that I provide below is a guide to help you identify and organize this information. It  may be needed to prepare final tax returns upon death (click the topic for more information) or to obtain probate of the Will (discussed below).  It is also needed to obtain a Clearance Certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)(see the instructions for CRA Form TX19).  Once a Clearance Certificate is obtained, you need not worry about future income tax bills showing up.

You do not need to use this worksheet, and you may find it too complex for your situation.  In that case, simply make a list of what was owned at the date of death by the deceased person.  Then, your lawyer and tax preparer will ask for any additional information.  If the Will needs to be probated, you will need to make a list for certain.  Probate is the process you need to go through to prove that the Will is valid.  In simple situations, particularly when there is no real estate or everything is owned jointly, probate may not be needed.  For more details, see the legislation for your province – in Prince Edward Island, see the government web site on Probating the Will or the  Probate Act .

If you do not complete this worksheet, you may still wish to review the worksheet to make sure you did not forget anything.  Remember, regardless of how you make your list, all values should be based on date of death.  To simplify your process, ask for statements, schedules, letters and/or documents from financial institutions, appraisers, insurance companies, real estate agents, etc. based on the date of death.  Your tax preparer or legal counsel can then determine the appropriate values.  Your real estate values for income tax purposes must be based on re-sale value, not property tax values.  However, in some provinces, the property tax value may be used for probate purposes; however, you would still need the re-sale value for the income tax return.

This is a stressful time, and a complex process – your professional advisers can help you.  Feel free to ask about fees and costs before hiring someone.  While the

It is often a challenge to determine original purchase costs, so provide any documents, or estimates of costs and timing of purchases if no documents exist, to assist in this process.

I have attached two worksheets in PDF form that you may use for your inventory.  The worksheet for simple estates lists common items that the majority of people can use.  Where the deceased person owned a lot of real estate, stock market investments, etc., more information will be required, and use of the worksheet for complex estates would be appropriate.  However, the second worksheet also provides space for historical cost information, etc., and this adds complexity.  As mentioned above, feel free to prepare your own list of what you own.  You can then meet with your lawyer and tax preparer to get additional guidance.  Use my worksheets as a guide to remember what should be on your list rather than get confused about the information that will be needed.  You have enough stress to deal with at this time, and your advisors will help you obtain additional information.

Download the form for a basic estate of bank accounts, a home, simple investments, etc. by clicking here: Inventory of Assets – Simple Estates.  For a more complex estate, with stock market investments, real estate and other assets, click here Inventory of Assets – Complex Estates

Blair Corkum, CPA, CA, R.F.P., CFP, CFDS, CLU, CHS holds his Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Registered Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist as well as several other financial planning related designations. Blair offers hourly based fee-only personal financial planning, holds no investment or insurance licenses, and receives no commissions or referral fees. This publication should not be construed as legal or investment advice. It is neither a definitive analysis of the law nor a substitute for professional advice which you should obtain before acting on information in this article. Information may change as a result of legislation or regulations issued after this article was written.©Blair Corkum