Keep accurate records of all estate bills, debts, taxes and other expenses

Settle the Estate

It’s extremely important to keep an accurate record 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.

Record-keeping should include:

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

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

Helpful Tips


A probate spreadsheet is needed in order to record all bills and debt paid, deposits received, and assets that have been transferred to beneficiaries. This information will be required 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

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant It’s also wise to keep track of account information in the spreadsheet as well.

For instance, keep track of the estate bank account number and any relevant login information within the spreadsheet, so that estate accounts are easily accessible.

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 online accounts and keep accurate records of those accounts (such as login information and balances due).

Ideally, this information will be recorded and maintained on a spreadsheet so the information is easily accessible by the executor.

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.

Common online accounts include, but are not limited to:

  • Email accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage or investment accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • File storage accounts such as DropBox, Evernote
  • Subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • Loan accounts

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

Create and maintain a file for important paperwork, such as that listed above.

This information may be needed throughout the Probate process.


If the deceased managed their accounts online:

It will be important for the Executor or Administrator to access the online accounts and keep accurate records of those accounts (such as login information and balances due).

Ideally, this information will be recorded and maintained on a spreadsheet so the information is easily accessible by the executor.

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.

Common online accounts include, but are not limited to:

  • Email accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage or investment accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • File storage accounts such as DropBox, Evernote
  • Subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • Loan accounts
If the deceased did not manage their accounts via online services:

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

Create and maintain a file for important paperwork, such as that listed above.

This information may be needed throughout the Probate process.


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 an account.

Save or print any copies of bills, debt, receipts, or assets (such as bank statements) found in the deceased’s email account as you will need these records 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.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For information on accessing the deceased's email, see the "How to Close Accounts" Section of the Guide.


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 an account.

Save or print any copies of bills, debt, receipts, or assets (such as bank statements) found in the deceased’s email account as you will need these records 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.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For information on accessing the deceased's email, see the "How to Close Accounts" Section of the Guide.


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, 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

Create and maintain a file for important paperwork, such as that listed above. This information may be needed throughout the Probate process.


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).

Online accounts may also have other important records that should be kept, such as bank statements.

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.

Common online accounts include, but are not limited to:

  • Email accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage or investment accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • File storage accounts such as DropBox, Evernote
  • Subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • Loan accounts

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For information on accessing the deceased's email, see the "How to Close Accounts" Section of the Guide.


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, 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

Create and maintain a file for important paperwork, such as that listed above. This information may be needed throughout the Probate process.

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).

Online accounts may also have other important records that should be kept, such as bank statements.

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.

Common online accounts include, but are not limited to:

  • Email accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage or investment accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • File storage accounts such as DropBox, Evernote
  • Subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • Loan accounts

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For information on accessing the deceased's email, see the "How to Close Accounts" Section of the Guide.


Have you recorded all assets you have or will put up for sale and the proceeds?


It will be important to continue documenting all assets that have been sold, or those that will be sold.

Keep records of information such as:

  • A description of the item
  • The item’s appraised value, if known
  • The value at which the item sold
  • Date the item was sold

Review the other questions in this section to ensure you are keeping accurate records of all debts and bills paid on behalf of the deceased’s Estate.


It will be necessary to record all assets that have been sold. Receipts and any other transaction records (e.g. deposits and transfers to bank accounts) can be used as the basis of record keeping.

It is be important to keep documentation of all assets that have been sold, or those that will be sold.

Keep records of information such as:

  • A description of the item
  • The item’s appraised value, if known
  • The value at which the item sold
  • Date the item was sold

If you have recorded all assets and proceeds:

It will be important to continue documenting all assets that have been sold, or those that will be sold.

Keep records of information such as:

  • A description of the item
  • The item’s appraised value, if known
  • The value at which the item sold
  • Date the item was sold

Review the other questions in this section to ensure you are keeping accurate records of all debts and bills paid on behalf of the deceased’s Estate.

If you have not recorded all assets and proceeds:

It will be necessary to record all assets that have been sold. Receipts and any other transaction records (e.g. deposits and transfers to bank accounts) can be used as the basis of record keeping.

It is be important to keep documentation of all assets that have been sold, or those that will be sold.

Keep records of information such as:

  • A description of the item
  • The item’s appraised value, if known
  • The value at which the item sold
  • Date the item was sold

Providers to Contact


Probate Attorneys Near You

Probate attorneys help settle a deceased person’s estate. They can also assist with the financial aspects of probate and important recordkeeping.

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Settle the Estate