Preparing the inventory

A person who has been named as the personal representative of an estate in Michigan has several duties after the death of the decedent, such as paying his or her debts and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. According to, one thing that has to be done before these other tasks can be undertaken is the preparation of an inventory of the estate.

The Michigan Courts differentiate between the types of property that must be inventoried. Real property is land and the buildings on it; personal property is anything else. Each of these items must have value attached to it, although similar items may sometimes be placed in categories, such as housewares, furnishings or clothing. Items that must be valued individually include the following:

  •          Bank accounts
  •          Stocks and bonds
  •          Mutual funds
  •          Annuities

Any life insurance that is payable to the estate must also be valued separately. Other items that must have their value listed on their own include vehicles, jewelry, antiques and other assets of significant worth. Real property parcels cannot be categorized, but must be valuated one by one. If an appraiser is hired to determine the value of real or personal property, his or her name and address should be included with the description of the property.

Any liens on real or personal property should be listed on the inventory form along with an indication of their amount and nature. This should not be subtracted from the gross value of the property determined at the date of the decedent’s death, though. The inventory value is the gross value minus the lien amount.