After someone in Massachusetts dies, the administrator of the estate has a number of duties to perform. One of these, according to The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is to prepare an inventory of everything the decedent owned at the time of his or her death. This involves identifying and listing assets and their value, as well as details about each item and whether there is any mortgage or other lien or debt associated with it.
Chron.com notes that there are some exclusions that the estate administrator does not need to list. For example, jointly held assets such as real estate or bank accounts typically do not go through probate, but remain in the possession of the other person on the account or title. Assets held in a trust are also not part of the estate’s inventory.
Deeds to real estate and titles to cars, boats, motorcycles and other vehicles must be located, and the values determined. An appraisal may be needed in some cases, but property tax assessments and the Kelley Blue Book are often good resources for finding the current value of these assets.
Compiling an inventory of the personal property of the decedent may be a time-intensive task. Even household items must be included, and there should be photo or video records of each of them. The value the administrator lists should be the amount someone might pay to purchase an object. Some items, such as collections, heirlooms and artwork, may have considerable worth. To authenticate the provenance and condition of these, a valuation expert may be necessary.