Calculating Estate Value And How To Create A Descriptive List

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab

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About Calculating Estate Value And How To Create A Descriptive List

This provides information on calculating the value of an estate and creating a descriptive list of all assets in the estate.

This includes information on what to include in the list, such as community property, separate property, and real estate. 

This explains how to calculate the total value of the community property and provides guidance on how to include the legal description of immovable property in the descriptive list. 

What You Need To Know

A descriptive list of assets is a document that lists all the assets of the decedent or that the decedent owned an interest in, at the time of death. It is a sworn document that does not need to show the decedent's debts, but sometimes it's still included. The list must be sworn by an heir, legatee, or other interested party and filed in the parish civil district court where the decedent lived or died. The list includes all community property, separate property, and real estate, along with their fair market value. The descriptive list of assets is an important document that is used as part of the documents needed to file a succession.

A descriptive list of assets must be sworn by an heir, legatee, or other interested party. This means that anyone who has an interest in the estate of the decedent can swear the list. However, it is important to note that the person who swears the list must have knowledge of the assets and their value, and must be willing to take an oath that the information provided in the list is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge.

A descriptive list of assets should include all assets of the decedent or that the decedent owned an interest in, at the time of death. The list should include all community property, separate property, and real estate, along with their fair market value. Some of the specific items that should be included in the list are:

  • Amount of money in the bank or credit union accounts
  • Stocks & Bonds
  • Cash
  • Mortgage(s)
  • Real Estate - Put the legal description of the property in the Descriptive list including a copy of the legal description exactly from previous deeds. Changes in any part of the legal description of immovable property may create confusion about the property being identified and may create issues over the property title.

It is important to note that the list does not need to show the decedent's debts, but sometimes it's still included. The list must be sworn by an heir, legatee, or other interested party and filed in the parish civil district court where the decedent lived or died.

Community property is property that is owned jointly by a married couple. In Louisiana, community property is divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce or death. When creating a descriptive list of assets, all community property must be included, along with its fair market value. This includes items such as furniture, household furniture, bank accounts, land, real estate, checking accounts, automobiles, household furniture and effects, and other effects. The total value of all community property must be calculated and included as part of the decedent's estate. The decedent's one-half share in their interest of the total community property amount must also be explicitly listed.

Separate property is property that is owned by an individual and not jointly with a spouse. This includes property that was owned by the decedent before marriage, property that was acquired by the decedent during the marriage by inheritance or gift, and property that was purchased with separate funds. When creating a descriptive list of assets, all separate property must be included, along with its fair market value. This includes items such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, cash, mortgages, and real estate. The total value of all separate property must be calculated and included as part of the decedent's estate.

To include the legal description of immovable property in the descriptive list, you should put the legal description of the property in the list, including a copy of the legal description exactly from previous deeds. Changes in any part of the legal description of immovable property may create confusion about the property being identified and may create issues over the property title. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the legal description is accurate and matches the previous deeds. This will help to avoid any confusion or issues with the property title in the future.

A succession is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person. It involves identifying and valuing all of the assets and debts of the decedent, paying off any outstanding debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. The descriptive list of assets is an important part of the succession process, as it provides a detailed inventory of all of the assets in the estate. This list is used to calculate the total value of the estate and to ensure that all assets are properly accounted for and distributed according to the decedent's wishes or the laws of the state. Therefore, the descriptive list of assets is a crucial document that is used in the succession process to ensure that the estate is settled properly and fairly.

If you forget to include an asset in the descriptive list, it may not be properly accounted for in the succession process. This could result in the asset being overlooked or undervalued, which could lead to disputes among the heirs or beneficiaries. It is important to ensure that the descriptive list is as comprehensive and accurate as possible, so that all assets are properly accounted for and distributed according to the decedent's wishes or the laws of the state. If you do realize that you have forgotten to include an asset in the list, you should consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action. They may be able to help you amend the list or take other steps to ensure that the asset is properly accounted for in the succession process.

In some cases, you may be able to amend the list if you discover that you have made an error or omitted an asset. However, there may be specific deadlines or requirements that you need to meet in order to make changes to the list.

It is important to consult with an attorney or other legal professional to determine the best course of action if you need to update the descriptive list of assets after it has been filed. They can help you understand the relevant laws and procedures and guide you through the process of making any necessary changes.

How To Create A Descriptive List

How To Create A Descriptive List

This outlines the steps involved in creating a Sworn, Detailed Descriptive List of Assets to file in the parish civil district court where the decedent lived or died. By following these steps, you'll be able to create a comprehensive and accurate descriptive list of assets for your succession.

Steps To Create A Detailed Descriptive List Of Assets

Get ready to make a formal legal document about the property and assets that belonged to someone who has died. This document must be very detailed listing all of the assets that the person owned. You need to swear that everything in the document is true and correct, which makes it a "sworn" document. 

You will need to file this document with the local court in the area where the person lived or where they died.

Gather all the necessary documents which may include: 

  • Bank statements: Acquire statements from all bank accounts to understand any outstanding loans or debts.
  • Credit card statements: Retrieve recent credit card statements to account for existing debts.
  • Loan documents: Gather documents related to personal loans, mortgages, car loans, etc.
  • Tax records: Retrieve recent tax records to understand any pending tax liabilities.

Provide a comprehensive list of all shared, community assets along with their current market value. Ensure to provide as much detail as possible for each asset. The details should encompass: 

  1. Furniture and Household Items

    • List all the furniture and other items in your household, noting down the current market value of each.
  2. Bank Accounts

    • Detail all the bank accounts held, including the bank's name, account number, the holder's name(s), and the present balance in each account.
  3. Land and Other Properties

    • Include details of all land and any other properties owned, along with their present market value.
  4. Real Estate

    • Note down details of all real estate owned, including the parish, address, and their current fair market value.
  5. Checking Accounts

    • Provide details of all the checking accounts, including the account number, bank's name, holder's name(s), and the current value of each account.
  6. Automobiles

    • List all the automobiles owned, providing details such as the description, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), title number, registration details, and the current market value of each vehicle.
  7. Household Furnishings and Other Effects

    • Detail all household furnishings and other miscellaneous items, including their current market value and where they are located.

Include the cumulative value of all assets that are considered "community property" when calculating the total value of the decedent's estate. To determine the total value of the community property, you would add up the current market value of each individual asset that falls into this category. The total value of all these jointly owned assets is included in the overall calculation of the decedent's estate's value. 

Identify, note, and create a detailed list of all items or assets that are "separate property" along with an estimation of each of their current market values. To create this list, think about any personal belongings, bank accounts, real estate properties, or other assets that were exclusively under the person's name. These might include things that were acquired before a marriage or items given specifically to them as a gift or inheritance. 

Make sure to list each item separately, describing it as clearly as possible. This includes: 

  1. Personal Belongings

    • Details: List things like jewelry, artwork, or any collectible items.
    • Value: Estimate how much each item might sell for today.
  2. Real Estate Properties

    • Details: List any houses, land, or apartments they owned alone.
    • Value: Estimate the current market value for each property.
  3. Bank Accounts

    • Details: List any bank accounts that were solely in their name.
    • Value: Mention the current balance in each account.
  4. Vehicles

    • Details: List any cars, boats, or other vehicles owned by them individually.
    • Value: Provide the current selling price for each vehicle in the market.

Once you have identified and created a detailed list of all separate properties then you can add up the values together to find the total value of the separate property. Include this total value in the decedent's estate.

Create a summary or detailed review that shows all the assets and properties that the deceased person owed. This should include property they owned themselves, as well as property they owned jointly with someone else. Clearly state the value of each item or piece of property. For property owned together with someone else, make sure to mention and specify the value of the half that belonged to the person who passed away. 

List all debts and liabilities during the creation of a detailed descriptive list of assets in a succession. Describe each debt and liability clearly. List the total amount owed for each debt and liability. Note the interest rate applicable to each debt, if any. Document any regular monthly payments being made towards reducing the debts.

Categorize the Debts

  • Secured debts: Debts such as mortgages that are secured by an asset.
  • Unsecured debts: Debts such as credit card debts that are not secured by any asset.
  • Personal loans: Money owed to friends, family, or others.
  • Tax liabilities: Outstanding tax liabilities, if any.

Once you have detailed both the assets and liabilities, determine the net estate value by subtracting the total liabilities from the total assets.

Get the document signed and officially approved by a notary to get it ready to be submitted to the right local court in your area. Someone who will inherit from the person who passed away, someone named in the will, or someone else who has a stake in the deceased person's property has to promise that the list is true.

Last Review and Update: Sep 17, 2023
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