Is probate record private – not with a complete inventory available for download
In our last video, we discussed how much information is released in the initial petition for probate even before the first hearing is held with a judge, probate is not a private process, no matter what you've heard.
Today, we're gonna talk about the initial inventory and what is available to anybody with an internet connection. In most states, an initial inventory must be filed within a couple of months of filing the initial petition for probate. But you might also be surprised at the amount of information that is in that initial inventory.
The initial inventory is just that, an inventory of everything that the personal representative has been able to identify that belongs to the estate. Sometimes that's an easy process, sometimes it's not. This includes all real estate owned by you or your family member. So that secret lake home that you've been keeping from your family is now, well, it's a matter of public record. It includes your financial accounts and an approximate estimate of how much money is in each account.
You might not be around anymore but all of your money will be and that means that everyone will know exactly how much cash you had on hand. But probably worse is that people will know exactly how much money your heirs, your family member are about to inherit. You see where I'm going with this? The next item and an initial inventory is usually a listing of all of your significant jewelry. If you don't want your siblings to know, mom gave you her pearl necklace, then they might be surprised to find out .
The initial inventory also includes items such as gun collections, knick-knacks or just personal collections that you have been keeping throughout your life which by the way, if you missed this video up here on personal items, then go back and watch it. After you watch this video, of course, guys, there is a lot of information in that initial inventory that must be filed with the court. Information about you, basically it's a snapshot of your entire financial estate.
You might not care if this information is put out there for everybody to see but like I mentioned, in our last video, the moment a petition is filed, the name of the deceased is out there. And there are companies around the world that monitor probates every single day, they monitor every probate case every day in every courthouse in every state of these United States, that's their job. Most of these companies are legitimate and they're just trying to get their clients paid out of the estate proceeds, that's completely understandable.
These are usually hospitals, doctors, credit card companies and other legitimate creditors that your family member or you worked with. But it also opens the door to unscrupulous bad actors who now know that your daughter is about to inherit $200,000 or a beach home in San Diego. Like I've said in the past, probate is not private.
And again, I don't understand how I most people think of a probate as a private process, it's a court proceeding, a public proceeding. It simply is not a private process and most, if not all of your financial information becomes a matter of public record. I keep talking about your nosy neighbor Nally, but guys, it's true. All she needs to do is hop online and she can find out all about your finances and real estate holdings, it's not hard to do anymore.
Do you really want her to know that? How do you keep all of this personal and financial information from being exposed during the probate process? Don't put your estate and family through probate, it's that simple. A revocable trust center to state plan is usually always the better and more private way to go.
I know this is a lot to think about so that is why we put together our free guide on estate planning available for download. I'll put a link in the description section below and again in the comments section below that. Click on the link below to get it a copy of our Free Estate Planning Guide that our clients use every day to get you started in the right direction and to up your estate planning game even more, please check out this video up here and this one right up here.
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