Why Heirs or Executors Need to Conduct an Asset Search?
Losing a loved one is never easy. It is even harder when heirs or executors are confronted with the sometimes tedious responsibility of settling and probating a decedent’s estate. A decedent’s estate consists of whatever they owned at death, such as a business, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, pensions, real estate, timeshares, automobiles, boats, aircraft, patents, trademarks, and life insurance proceeds. If there is a valid will, the assets identified in the will are distributed pursuant to the terms of the will. If there is no will, then all assets are distributed under the state’s intestacy law. In either event, identifying and ascertaining the deceased’s assets and liabilities is extremely important, and unfortunately, also the most problematic step of the whole probate process. Heirs often feel lost and frustrated when they are not quite sure what the deceased actually owned when they died, and the uncertainty usually leads to disputes between the heirs and between the heirs and the executor. Here are two scenarios where conducting an asset search is extremely helpful:
- 1. When the Will is Silent as to the Nature of the Decedent’s Assets
- 2. When Heirs Suspect that the Executor Failed to Make a Complete Inventory the Deceased’s Assets