How Do I Prepare a Home Inventory for My Will?

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“My question is how to prepare a home inventory of a household as requested for my will?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It’s a great idea to prepare a home inventory, not just for your will, but in case of flood or other damage, or even burglary.

It’s easy to create a home inventory, although it does take a little time. A good home inventory will contain a list of all of your possessions including when they were purchased or acquired, how much you paid for them, and their current value. If you don’t know the information for a given item, it’s ok, but the more complete you can be, the better. The inventory should also include receipts for valuable items, if possible, any appraisals you may have, and photographs of both each of your rooms in your house, and of any individual items of value. Finally consider including a video-taped walk through of your house.

Start the inventory by either hand-creating a set of forms, or else get one of the home inventory software programs which are currently on the market. The forms should include spaces for the name of each item, its description, the model and serial number if applicable, when you purchased it, where you purchased it, how much it cost, and the current value. The form also include a space to indicate that you have the receipt, a photo, or any other additional information relevant to the item.

Once you have the forms created, the best way to tackle actually taking the inventory is by doing one room a day. With each room, start by recording your individual items which are of greatest value (artwork, jewelry, heirlooms, antiques, etc.). Then move on to things such as furniture and electronics. Then on to even smaller items. The more thorough you are, the better. Some people include things right down to all of the silverware, pots and pans, and clothing. Others record those items by simply opening drawers and cabinets, and taking a picture. The more specific and detailed the better, but if you don’t have the time to record every spoon, fork and knife by hand, then at least take pictures of those smaller items.

Be sure to make copies of your inventory and store them away from your house, either in a safe deposit box, or with your lawyer or a trusted family member or friend (or both). Also be sure to update your inventory quarterly or every six months, and to make sure that it is copies of the most recent inventory which are stored away from your house.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
The Ultimate Home Inventory Guide: How to Organize, Document and Protect All Your Valuables

Recommended software (click on the picture for details):
SAFE Home Inventory Software

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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