Q: Asset Inventory and Apprisal
My attorney helped me filed a probate petition in Santa Barbara County, California. I am in the process to prepare a schedule of assets and debts for inventory and appraisal phase of the probate case. 1. Should I list non-probate assets such as my dad's 403(b) plan and his individual investment account which has been transferred under my name on schedule of asset sheet? 2. how much detail should I provide for each financial asset (e.g. invesment firm name, total asset value of each account, investment account number)? 3. "Concurrent with the filing of the inventory and appraisal pursuant to this section, the personal representative shall also file a certification that the requirements of Section 480 of the Revenue and Taxation Code", My dad's home is listed as a probate asset, should I apply for change of ownership with Santa Barbara County assessor office? 4. Should My attoreny assist me to apply for a Tax ID with IRS after letter of administration issued or I need to apply Tax ID?
A: You have asked a lot of very good questions! First, non-probate assets are not listed on the schedules. Although it may seem straight-forward, placing the right assets on the right schedule is not as easy as one might think. If you put an asset on the wrong schedule, the entire document will be rejected. As a result, it makes sense to have your lawyer (or even a bookkeeper or accountant who specializes in probate) handle that for you. [Your accountant or your lawyer can also help with the tax identification number (called an "EIN").] Back to the schedules: The more detail you provide to help the court, the better. Your lawyer will know what should be included and what is not relevant from a legal standpoint. It would be impossible for a lawyer such as myself to answer your questions specifically geared toward your individual situation without seeing a list of the assets at issue and going through the appropriate legal analysis, which is why you should see your attorney for assistance. If you don't have a good relationship with your lawyer, you can find another one by searching in Justia for a lawyer in the county in which the probate is taking place. Best wishes to you.
Sally Bergman agrees with this answer
What struck me as unusual about your question is that you mention that you have an attorney, but it doesn't seem that you are receiving much guidance from him/her. I note that you are from Texas, so I'm wondering if perhaps an attorney friend there assisted you to file the Probate Petition, but is not actually identified as your attorney on the Petition? If so, then Julie King gave you some great advice.
On the other hand, if you have a CA attorney representing you, I can't help but wonder why you're handling this alone without any guidance. Attorneys are paid a statutory fee based on the value of the probate assets, no matter how much or little they do for you. They are, however, expected to earn that fee.
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