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Where should you look to see if an Illinois testator has hidden assets?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2021 | Estate Planning

You’re likely aware that you have multiple responsibilities as an Illinois executor. One of those is to inventory all of a testator’s assets. Another is to file their final tax return.

While some executors are fortunate enough to have testators provide advanced guidance on their assets and find them, countless others aren’t as fortunate. There are some steps to follow to ensure that no assets go unturned so that you file an accurate tax return and get them in the right heir’s hands. 

Look at obvious or tangible assets

Some of the easier assets to inventory as an executor are the tangible ones that a testator leaves behind, whether it’s their car, house or anything else found inside them. 

Dig for intangible or hidden assets

Bank or investment accounts, insurance policies and intellectual property rights can be extremely valuable assets. Yet, executors often overlook them because they’re not something that they can readily see and touch.  

There are many instances in which testators inadvertently neglect to include these valuable assets in their will because they lose track of the fact that they have them. Executors only often identify these valuable assets when they take the initiative to comb through a testator’s personal effects in their home, storage unit, office or safety deposit box. They may locate a bank or quarterly statement, a loan payment receipt, debit cards, blank checks or loose cash when doing this. 

Accounting records and tax returns may also be quite helpful in revealing whether a testator had additional assets other than those included in their will. These records may show royalties, rental income, interest payments, business expenses or deductions, all of which may send a message to an executor that there are hidden assets still to inventory. 

Executors should also be on the lookout for any evidence that the testator prepaid for a cemetery plot or funeral expenses. 

Navigate your role as an Illinois executor

There’s seldom a case in which probating a Naperville estate is entirely straightforward. There are always new things that arise that you may have to confront no matter how many times you’ve served in this role. An attorney can provide you with the necessary guidance you need when such impasses arise.