Inventory Decedant's Estates

Pursuant to MCL 700.3706 the personal representative is responsible for the preparation of the inventory and service on all presumptive distributees and interested persons who request a copy within 91 days after the personal representative's appointment. The property must be listed with reasonable detail along with its fair market value as of the date of death and the type and amount of any lien, mortgage or security interest. The personal representative may employ qualified and disinterested appraisers. The name and address of each appraiser and the item the appraiser valued must be indicated on the inventory. This may be accomplished by using the form entitled Inventory (PC 577). There is no requirement that the personal representative file the inventory with the court unless in supervised administration. However, pursuant to MCR 5.307(A) the personal representative must submit to the court information sufficient to compute the inventory fee within 91 days of appointment. The inventory fee must be paid before closing the estate or within one year after appointment, whichever is earlier.

The purpose of the inventory is to let all distributees and interested persons requesting a copy know the assets of the estate and their approximate fair market value. The Inventory (PC 577) allows the personal representative to list both the personal property and real estate and their corresponding fair market value. It also allows for a listing of property which may have been appraised by an appraiser. If the value of property can not be determined at the time the inventory is due, the value should be listed as "unknown." When the value becomes known, the inventory should be amended to reflect the fair market value. If property is discovered after the inventory has been filed, an amended inventory reflecting the newly discovered property must be filed and served upon the persons initially entitled to a copy.

When listing personal property it is often lumped together with an estimated value. This is permissible except when there are unique valuable items, individual valuable items or where it is anticipated that the interested persons will contest the inclusion or value of items. Thus, the entry may appear as "household goods-$5,000." If the estate has a unique valuable item, it should be listed separately with its fair market value. Thus, the entry may appear as "antique desk-$2,000." Valuable items should also be listed separately with their fair market value. Items such as automobiles, valuable jewelry, boats, collections, and valuable works of art would fall within this category. Whenever the estate consists of many item of valuable personal property or where it is anticipated that a contest may develop over the inclusion or value of items, it may be prudent for the personal representative to have all personal property appraised by a disinterested appraiser. Pursuant to MCL 700.3707 the personal representative may employ a qualified and disinterested appraiser to assist in ascertaining the fair market value as of the date of the decedent's death of property, the value of which may be subject to reasonable doubt. Different persons may be employed to appraise different kinds of property included in the estate.

Each appraiser's name and address shall be indicated on the inventory with the item or items he or she appraised. When listing real estate, the personal representative should include the complete legal description. The fair market value is often arrived at by doubling the state equalized value for the property. If the personal representative wishes to use another value, he or she may have the real estate appraised. Out-of-state real estate need not be included on the inventory. However, if the personal representative wishes to make interested persons aware of out-of-state property, the personal representative may list and value such property, but not include it's value as part of the Michigan estate. This would be accomplished when using Inventory (PC 577) by describing and valuing the property to the left of the vertical line used on the form. Many attorneys simply do not list out-of-state property so as to make it clear that it is not a part of the Michigan estate. However, if proceeds from such property is paid into the estate, the proceeds must be accounted for latter as a part of the Michigan estate.

If an interested person disagrees with the items listed or the values given in the inventory, he or she may file a formal proceeding with the court challenging such aspect of the inventory. The ability to challenge the inventory may be lost after an order is entered allowing the personal representative's first accounting.

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