A personal representative of a Florida probate estate is required by the Florida Probate Code to file an estate inventory. The inventory sets forth those assets that are probate assets in the hands of the personal representative.
What Is The Deadline To File An Inventory in a Florida Probate?
The inventory is required to be filed no later than 60 days after the issuance of letters of administration to the personal representative.
What Assets are Included on the Inventory?
Probate assets should be included in the inventory. These include assets that the personal representative takes possession of.
Included would be bank accounts, brokerage account and investments which do not contain (i) a pay on death, transfer on death or similar designation, and (ii) which are not jointly titled with right of survivorship. An account which is titled jointly with the right of survivorship would become the property of the survivor, not the estate. Likewise, a bank account with a pay on death designation become the property of the person listed, not the estate. Life insurance policies payable to a named beneficiary would similarly not be included as a probate asset. To see what assets are typically probate or non-probate assets, see the Assets of the Deceased chart.
The inventory is required to list real estate owned by the decedent, other than real estate titled as joint with rights of survivorship. If the real estate is homestead property, it is not technically a probate asset, but Florida Probate Rule 5.340 nevertheless requires that the homestead property still be listed in a separate section of the inventory. Real estate outside of Florida, though not a Florida probate asset, is also required to be listed in a separate part of the inventory.
Who Receives a Copy of the Inventory?
Florida Probate Rule 5.340 requires that the inventory be sent to the surviving spouse, each heir at law in an intestate estate, each residuary beneficiary of a testate estate, and any other interested person who requests it in writing.
What if a Beneficiary Takes Issue with the Inventory?
Florida Probate Rule 5.340 permits each beneficiary to request a written explanation if how the inventory value of each asset was determined. If an appraisal was obtained, a copy of the appraisal must be furnished.
There is no stated time frame to file a written objection to the inventory. The inventory can suggest, however, certain actions that might be undertaken. For example, if there is an issue as to whether an asset is a probate asset, and the personal representative, as shown on the inventory, takes the position that the asset is not a probate asset, proceedings could be undertaken to collect the alleged probate asset.
The value of property shown on the inventory in a Florida probate could be highly relevant if the personal representative is required to distribute different property to the residuary heirs. For example, if there are two equal beneficiaries of an estate consisting of real estate and cash, and the personal representative proposes distributing the real estate and some cash to one beneficiary and cash to the other, the value of the real estate would be highly relevant as to how to divide up the cash.