Keep accurate records of estate assets

Settle the Estate

It is extremely important to keep accurate records of every financial transaction made during the legal Probate process.

Because a final accounting is required to be filed with the Probate court at the end of the Probate process, a well organized spreadsheet will help make the submission easier.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Additionally, because it is the responsibility of the executor or administrator to properly settle the estate without error, meticulous documentation is vital to prove that all duties have been fulfilled according to law. Executors can be held legally liable for any issues.

Record-keeping should include:

  • Account details - account numbers, balances, and brief descriptions
  • Bills paid - to whom, the amount, and what the bill was for
  • Deposits made - from whom, the amount, and what the payment was for
  • Accounts transferred - amount transferred, to whom, and reason it was transferred

To ensure all records are accurate, save all deposit and withdrawal receipts, copies of checks, and bank statements.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know State law will determine how long you must keep estate records, but it is generally advised to keep them for at least three years after the death and up to ten years.

Helpful Tips


Download a spreadsheet or create one yourself to record all bills and debt paid, deposits received, and assets that have been transferred to beneficiaries.

You will need this information during the legal probate process. Accurate record-keeping may also protect the executor or administrator against claims of wrongdoing by heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased.

Keep records of:

  • All real and personal property owned by the deceased, individually. Include a description of the property, value of the asset, and how the value was determined
  • All bills, debts, and taxes owed by the deceased, including whether the debt was secured or unsecured, its amount, to whom it is owed, and for what purpose the debt was incurred

An example spreadsheet can look like:

Asset Description 2013 Honda Accord

Value $8,000

How Value Was Determined Kelly Blue Book

Bill Description Mortgage

Secured? Yes

Amount Owed $35,000

Creditor PNC Bank

Purpose of Debt Personal Residence

Personal Considerations


Did the deceased manage their accounts online?


It will be important for the executor or administrator to access the deceased’s online accounts, because the accounts may have information that needs to be recorded during the probate process.

For instance, online bank statements might show the bills and debt the deceased was paying, so the executor will need access to this information to keep accurate records.

While every company and online platform has their own rules for accessing a deceased’s person’s accounts, most companies will require the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your physical mailing address
  • Your email address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • The account username or email address associated with the deceased person’s account
  • A copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate
  • A copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration authorizing you to act on behalf of the deceased

Research where the deceased had their online accounts and contact their customer service for information on accessing their account.

The platform’s customer service should be able to provide you with a list of information and documentation you will need to provide in order to access the deceased’s account.


Search the deceased’s files to find physical records of their assets, bills, and debt.

Often, this information can be found in a filing cabinet, fireproof safe, desk, or a safe deposit box.

Paperwork you should search for includes, but is not limited to:

  • Deeds
  • Mortgage loan documents
  • Vehicle Titles
  • Vehicle loan documents
  • Financial Statements
  • Tax returns

Once you locate these documents, store them in a file with other important estate paperwork, such as the deceased’s will.

Keeping these records will help during the legal probate process.

For example, deeds and mortgage loan documents can help the executor determine the types of assets the deceased owned, as well as any remaining debt the deceased had.


If the deceased managed their accounts via online service:

It will be important for the executor or administrator to access the deceased’s online accounts, because the accounts may have information that needs to be recorded during the probate process.

For instance, online bank statements might show the bills and debt the deceased was paying, so the executor will need access to this information to keep accurate records.

While every company and online platform has their own rules for accessing a deceased’s person’s accounts, most companies will require the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your physical mailing address
  • Your email address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • The account username or email address associated with the deceased person’s account
  • A copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate
  • A copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration authorizing you to act on behalf of the deceased

Research where the deceased had their online accounts and contact their customer service for information on accessing their account.

The platform’s customer service should be able to provide you with a list of information and documentation you will need to provide in order to access the deceased’s account.

If the deceased did not manage their accounts online:

Search the deceased’s files to find physical records of their assets, bills, and debt.

Often, this information can be found in a filing cabinet, fireproof safe, desk, or a safe deposit box.

Paperwork you should search for includes, but is not limited to:

  • Deeds
  • Mortgage loan documents
  • Vehicle Titles
  • Vehicle loan documents
  • Financial Statements
  • Tax returns

Once you locate these documents, store them in a file with other important estate paperwork, such as the deceased’s will.

Keeping these records will help during the legal probate process.

For example, deeds and mortgage loan documents can help the executor determine the types of assets the deceased owned, as well as any remaining debt the deceased had.


Do you have access to the deceased's email?


Review their email account for evidence of other online accounts, such as electronic bank statements and email receipts.

Also, having access to the deceased’s email account may make it easier to access their other online accounts, as most online accounts require an email address to sign up and access and account.

Save or print any copies of bills, debt, receipts, or assets (such as bank statements) found in the deceased’s email account, as these records may be needed throughout the probate process.


It will be important for the executor or administrator to access the deceased’s email, especially if they managed their accounts online.

While every company and online platform has their own rules for accessing a deceased’s person’s accounts, most companies will require the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your physical mailing address
  • Your email address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • The account username or email address associated with the deceased person’s account
  • A copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate
  • A copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration authorizing you to act on behalf of the deceased

Research where the deceased had their email account (e.g. Microsoft, Google) and contact their customer service for information on accessing their account.

The platform’s customer service should be able to provide you with a list of information and documentation you will need to provide in order to access the deceased’s account.


If you have access to the deceased's email:

Review their email account for evidence of other online accounts, such as electronic bank statements and email receipts.

Also, having access to the deceased’s email account may make it easier to access their other online accounts, as most online accounts require an email address to sign up and access and account.

Save or print any copies of bills, debt, receipts, or assets (such as bank statements) found in the deceased’s email account, as these records may be needed throughout the probate process.

If you do not have access to the deceased's email:

It will be important for the executor or administrator to access the deceased’s email, especially if they managed their accounts online.

While every company and online platform has their own rules for accessing a deceased’s person’s accounts, most companies will require the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your physical mailing address
  • Your email address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • The account username or email address associated with the deceased person’s account
  • A copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate
  • A copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration authorizing you to act on behalf of the deceased

Research where the deceased had their email account (e.g. Microsoft, Google) and contact their customer service for information on accessing their account.

The platform’s customer service should be able to provide you with a list of information and documentation you will need to provide in order to access the deceased’s account.


Did the deceased have paper records?


Search the deceased’s files to find physical records of their assets, bills, and debt.

Often, this information can be found in a filing cabinet, desk, safe, or a safe deposit box at bank.

Paperwork you should search for includes, but is not limited to:

  • Deeds
  • Mortgage loan documents
  • Vehicle Titles
  • Vehicle loan documents
  • Financial Statements
  • Tax returns

Once you locate these documents, store them in a file with other important estate paperwork, such as the deceased’s will.

Keeping these records will help during the legal probate process.

For example, deeds and mortgage loan documents can help the executor determine the types of assets the deceased owned, as well as any remaining debt the deceased had.


They likely managed their accounts online.

Try to get access to their online accounts, as it will be important for the executor or administrator to continue managing the deceased’s accounts (or close them).

While every company and online platform has their own rules for accessing a deceased’s person’s accounts, most companies will require the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your physical mailing address
  • Your email address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • The account username or email address associated with the deceased person’s account
  • A copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate
  • A copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration authorizing you to act on behalf of the deceased

Research where the deceased had their online accounts and contact their customer service for information on accessing their account.

The platform’s customer service should be able to provide you with a list of information and documentation you will need to provide in order to access the deceased’s account.


If the deceased had paper records:

Search the deceased’s files to find physical records of their assets, bills, and debt.

Often, this information can be found in a filing cabinet, desk, safe, or a safe deposit box at bank.

Paperwork you should search for includes, but is not limited to:

  • Deeds
  • Mortgage loan documents
  • Vehicle Titles
  • Vehicle loan documents
  • Financial Statements
  • Tax returns

Once you locate these documents, store them in a file with other important estate paperwork, such as the deceased’s will.

Keeping these records will help during the legal probate process.

For example, deeds and mortgage loan documents can help the executor determine the types of assets the deceased owned, as well as any remaining debt the deceased had.

If the deceased did not have paper records:

They likely managed their accounts online.

Try to get access to their online accounts, as it will be important for the executor or administrator to continue managing the deceased’s accounts (or close them).

While every company and online platform has their own rules for accessing a deceased’s person’s accounts, most companies will require the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your physical mailing address
  • Your email address
  • A copy of your government-issued ID to confirm your identity
  • The account username or email address associated with the deceased person’s account
  • A copy of the deceased’s Death Certificate
  • A copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration authorizing you to act on behalf of the deceased

Research where the deceased had their online accounts and contact their customer service for information on accessing their account.

The platform’s customer service should be able to provide you with a list of information and documentation you will need to provide in order to access the deceased’s account.

Providers to Contact


Probate Attorneys Near You

Probate attorneys help settle a deceased person’s estate. They can help locate, categorize, gather, and record assets during the probate process.

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