What is a Property Inventory?
Before we get into why a property inventory is important, let’s define it. A Property Inventory is a detailed list of personal property with identifying and descriptive information with photos and video. It should include everything of value in your home and on your property such as:
- Art, Collectables, Heirlooms and Antiques, Home Decor
- Bedding and Linens
- Books and Magazines
- Buildings/Structures – Your Home, Out Buildings, Detached Garages, Sheds, and Barns
- Camping and Outdoor Equipment
- Yard Equipment – Mowers, Power Tools, and Hand Tools.
- Automobiles, Boats and Recreational Vehicles
- Communication Devices such as Phones and 2-way Radios
- Computer, Printers, TVs, Radios and other Electronic Devices
- Major and General Appliances
- Firearms and other Weapons
- Kitchen Appliances, Cookware, Dishes
- Tools and other Equipment
Why you need a Property Inventory
A property inventory provides valuable documentation for the following:
- If a fire or other disaster destroys your home, your insurance company will want a list of all of your property with some kind of proof that it exists. Can you imagine how hard it would be to make a list of your personal property after the fact? You will already be dealing with stress and anxiety, adding this task on top of that would be overwhelming. Without an offsite, comprehensive inventory, your insurance company may settle with you for a lot less than what you deserve.
- If your home is broken into and thieves have taken your property, the police and your insurance company will need to know what was taken along with any identifying information on the items.
- When preparing for disasters, it is imperative to know what equipment and other items that you have that are useful in a disaster scenario. Knowing the location of these items will prove valuable when you need them. An inventory also helps you to not waste money buying things you already have.
- When you are downsizing, a detailed inventory will help you and the moving company better understand what can be moved to your new location, what needs to be sold or given away and how big of a truck and storage area are needed for the job.
- At end of life, your heirs and executor will have the tough job of dealing with your personal property if there is no inventory so having a list of what you have and who the beneficiary is makes the job of finalizing your estate so much easier.
Information Needed in your Inventory
There are many pieces of information that you can record in a property inventory but each item should at a minimum have defined:
- Purchase Date and Price
- Category – Appliances, Furnitures, Kitchen,
- Serial and Model numbers for electronics, equipment, appliances, etc.
If your property is of considerable value or you are preparing for an estate sale, a more comprehensive documentation would also have information like:
- Appraisal Information – Value, Appraiser and Date
- Detailed Pictures
- Purchase and maintenance receipts
- Warranty Information
- History of the Item
As you have read, there are many good reasons to have a property inventory but it is not a simple and quick thing to do. It takes some time and effort, a bit of planning and a decent tool to manage the inventory. If you need help, we have several ways to assist you:
- Inventory Spreadsheet – In our Estate Preparedness Forms packet there is a Property Inventory Excel Spreadsheet that contains many columns to store information and has several reference lists for you to define buildings, rooms and areas, categories etc. that simplify data entry and ensure data quality.
- With a subscription to a personal, secure Estate Preparedness Website, there is a comprehensive list to record and manage your personal property that can be accessed remotely by you, your executor and heirs.
- One of our On-Site Services is creating a personal property inventory for you. We come to your home, take pictures and video and then transcribe your inventory into your Estate Preparedness Website.
Contact us today if we can be of help!