Initial Working Conference Scheduled for Administration of Decedent’s Estate

The purpose of this checklist is to assist you in gathering details regarding the assets to be inventoried for the decedent’s estate tax purposes and to explain the manner in which income and expenses of the decedent are to be handled and accounted for.

Please assemble and bring with you as much of the following information and documentation for the initial working conference as you are able to locate:

  • Real Estate Ownership.  Bring deeds to all of the real estate in which the decedent owned an interest.  On any property that has been transferred to a trust, please try to find both the deed by which the decedent originally took title to the property as well as the later deed by which the decedent conveyed to his/her interest into trust.
  • Real Estate Values.  In all likelihood, it will be necessary for us to have the property appraised.  Please do not do so until we have met at the initial working conference.  If you have an appraiser in mind to appraise the fair market value of the real estate for estate tax purposes, please provide his/her name and address at the initial working conference.
  • Bank Accounts and Investments.  Bring in a complete monthly statement for every bank account, brokerage account or mutual fund account in which the decedent or the decedent’s trust held an interest in at the time of his/her death.  If possible, bring in the monthly statement that includes the date of death.  On any bank or investment accounts for which statements are not available, provide the account number, date of death balance, and the manner in which the account was titled (Decedent’s name alone, joint tenancy, Trust, etc.).
  • Certificated Stocks and Bonds.  If the decedent held any stocks, bonds or other securities in certificated form, bring the certificates with you if possible.  Otherwise, bring information concerning the certificate (number of shares, certificate number, title on the certificate, etc.).
  • Life Insurance/Retirement Accounts.  On every life insurance policy insuring the decedent’s life, bring the policy if available, otherwise the name of the company, the policy number, the face value of death benefits, the designated beneficiary of the policy, and the owner of the policy.  On any retirement plan accounts (pensions, individual retirement accounts, Keogh Plans, etc.), bring the custodial agreement or other governing instrument if available, otherwise a description of the plan, account number if applicable, designated death beneficiaries, and if the plan was in pay status at time of death, any elections made regarding the payout of the plan.
  • Machinery and Equipment.  A list of any farm machinery and equipment owned by the decedent at the decedent’s death.  In all likelihood, we will need to have this valued by an equipment dealer or appraiser.  If you have an appraiser or equipment dealer in mind that you would like to help set the value on the machinery, please provide that individual’s name and address at the initial working conference.
  • Grain in Storage.  Quantities and date of death values of any grain remaining in storage in which the decedent held an interest.
  • Motor Vehicles.  Bring certificates of title to all motor vehicles in which the decedent held an interest.  If the title certificate is not available, bring the most recent annual registration card.
  • Other Assets.  Bring information regarding ownership and date of death valuation of any other assets or valuable rights in which decedent had an interest at the time of his/her death, such as notes receivable, accounts receivable, contract rights due, over-payments and unearned prepayments refundable, loans due from family or non-family borrowers, and so forth.  Generally speaking, we do not individually inventory household goods and personal effects such as furniture, furnishings, clothing, personal jewelry, and other tangible personal property around the house.  An exception is made for individual items of significant value, like artworks, antiques, jewelry or collectibles.  If there are any of those kinds of items, they may need to be separately inventories and appraised.
  • Debts Owed.  Provide a list of any notes, accounts or contracts payable at the time of the decedent’s death, including the name of the payee, the amount due including interest, the applicable interest rate and any other details needed to determine the value of the debt at date of death.

At the initial working conference, we will discuss the method you will need to use in order to account for trust income and expenses.  Please bring a list of all existing expenses and anticipated expenses that you have incurred, paid or anticipate paying after the date of death for such things as funeral expenses, medical expenses, and/or any expenses associated with the administration of the decedent’s estate or trust, together with a list of any checks made payable to the decedent which you have already received or deposited after the date of death of decedent.

We look forward to meeting with you in the initial working conference and we will do our best to assist you in the administration of the decedent’s estate and make you feel comfortable in this process.