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Locate and List - Hidden Assets

When tasked with the role of the executor, you may have to put on your hat and go into Indiana Jones mode. A full search of the decedent's real property may be required to discover if the decedent may literally have some hidden ‘gems.’

You’ll need to go through all of the decedent’s paperwork with a fine tooth comb. Do not throw any papers out until you’ve examined everything as thoroughly as possible. This can turn up items such as insurance policies, bonds, and real estate deeds. You may even turn up references to debts owed to the decedent. You may not be aware of it, but these debts are considered assets to the decedent’s estate and must be included in the inventory. And still need to be collected, unless documents forgive these debts, regardless of the death of the decedent.

Now is the time when you need to put on your fedora and look for those dark and dusty hidden places. People will hide things in various places, so search high and low. Check inside and under the mattress, in closets, the attic, basement, small boxes, and that common hiding place known as the freezer. If there is a locked safe that needs to be accessed check documents for the combination. If you cannot find the combination or key to a safe, have a locksmith open it, but you will need to prove you are the administrator of the estate. It may be a good idea to have a witness with you when exploring hidden places and safes.

A professional Estate Administration Lawyer might even be able to help you locate hidden assets through document searches and online asset inquiries through state or federal government sources.


*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.

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