Once the probate estate has been opened with the probate court, the next step in probating the estate is to establish date of death values for all of the decedent's assets. This step is important because most states require that an inventory of the decedent's probate assets along with their date of death values be filed with the probate court within 30-90 days of the date the probate estate was opened with the probate court.
All financial institutions where the decedent's assets are located must be contacted to obtain the date of death values. For assets including real estate, personal effects including jewelry, art work and collectibles, and closely held businesses, they'll need to be appraised by a professional appraiser.
While the probate court will only require date of death values for the decedent's probate assets to be listed on the estate inventory, if the decedent's estate is taxable for federal and/or state estate tax purposes then date of death values will also need to be established for the decedent's non probate assets including life insurance, retirement accounts including IRAs and 401(k)s, and annuities. Refer to What Are Non Probate Assets and Are They Included in Your Estate? to determine what, if any, non probate assets the decedent owned.
Once the date of death values have been determined for the decedent's assets, the next step is to pay the decedent's final bills and ongoing expenses of administering the estate.Probate Checklist - 6 Steps to Probating an Estate