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The will has been probated, the personal representative has qualified and you are sitting down to ascertain what the assets of the estate are, where they are; and whether they are to be transferred, liquidated or a little of both. To determine whether the estate is subject to the federal estate tax and the New Jersey estate tax, you will need to determine the value of the assets as soon as possible. The most efficient way to accomplish this is with a checklist. While we do not have the space here to reproduce a checklist, we will give you the important items in order that you may fashion your own list.

The heading of your checklist should include the decedentís name, social security number, last address, date of domicile (for stock transfer purposes and for the federal estate tax return), spouseís name, address, date of death, date of birth.

The next items will include information as to the will or lack thereof, name and address of personal representative, social security number of personal representative and a list of the heirs or beneficiaries, giving their addresses and ages. You should also leave a few lines for any additional information such as information as to renunciations needed, etc.

You are now ready to list the assets of the estate, starting with real property, location, how held, whether it is rental property, income derived, values, mortgages, liens, etc.

The next category will be personal property. These items will include:

  • Bank Accounts
  • Stock/Bonds
  • Automobiles/Boats
  • Collectibles/Furnishings/Jewelry
  • Time Share/Co-Op
  • Miscellaneous

You should also have a section relating to insurance. Name, address of company, name of beneficiary, policy numbers, face value, etc. You will also need to obtain a #712 for the policies if you have an estate subject to federal estate tax. Also you need to know if the decedent was receiving any annuities as of the date of death.

You should also have a section on whether or not there was a safe deposit box, the contents thereof - the name and address of decedentís employer, if any, to ascertain death benefits, pensions, etc. Did the decedent own a business, have any interest in a business, corporation or partnership? Ask for a copy of the prior yearís income tax return to examine and to transmit to the inheritance tax bureau with that return.

Also have a miscellaneous section to cover debts of the decedent and miscellaneous information.

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