Home Estate Inventory List

Home estate inventory lists, including household items, personal belongings, paper documents often overlooked, and storing the inventory itself.

Setting up and keeping a home inventory is one of those things that you always intend to do, but never actually get around to. Not enough time, don't know where to start, or you do start, but never finish, or worse yet, you make one, but do not put much, or the right, information in it, and can't remember where you stored it!

One afternoon of putting together an inventory of your belongings can save you countless hours of frustration. In the event that you suffer a major, or even a minor disaster, in your house or on your premises, you will be very glad you have a detailed inventory. Materials needed, will be as simple as a few rolls of film for your camera, or a fresh tape in your video camera, plus a notebook and pen. Another important item is a place to keep your inventory once it is completed. This can be a safe deposit box, or at the least, a fireproof box. One family I know took it one step further, and besides keeping a safe deposit box, made copies of everything and "˜swapped' their inventory with each other. Many insurance agents can also give you a rough form of common household items that should be included on an inventory. Keep in mind though, that as an individual, you may have items that fall into no pre-set category. Once you have these necessary supplies, it is time to start.

Inventory one room at a time, starting with several photos of the entire room from different viewpoints. If using a video camera, walk around the room slowly, getting views of the entire room. Do not forget to include light fixtures and flooring, curtains and drapes. Drawers and cabinets need also be looked through for any thing that needs to be recorded. Knickknacks, video games, and game consoles, computers and computer equipment, including software. Books, games, sporting equipment, pet supplies; even food items should be cataloged. After you have finished this step, then it is time to "˜start' inventorying. Anything with a serial number needs to be recorded. Snap a picture, or zoom in with your video recorder, on the item's serial number, and a picture of the item itself. This will include televisions, VCR's, a computer, hunting equipment, lawnmowers, etc. Items that have special value or unique features should be noted. As you complete a room, check and double check for anything you might have missed. Jewelry should be cataloged individually if of great value, otherwise several pieces may be laid out side by side, and photographed together. Make sure to note karat value of pieces and any precious stones. When first purchasing quality jewelry, make sure to save documents that verify value.

One mistake many people make is to not document "˜obvious' household items. Microwaves, hairdryers, clothes, toys, appliances, furniture, all should be inventoried.

Besides the typical rooms, do not overlook the basement, attic, garage, and bathrooms. Garden equipment, lawn furniture, grills; all should have a record. Tools should be carefully inventoried, as it is very easy to forget about all those socket sets you have acquired through the years. Outbuildings should be photographed outside and in. The house itself should be photographed from the exterior also, with several views. Any special architectural points should be photographed. If you have a central air system, central vacuum, etc. make special note of this.

Personal papers should also be documented. Birth certificates, driver's license, credit card numbers, bank information, deeds, insurance information, and policy numbers, all should be copied.

As you do an inventory of your belongings, you may realize that you own items that may, or may not, fall into a typical homeowner's insurance policy, such as antiques, so inquire of your insurance agent how to go about insuring these items. Some items may need a special "˜rider', or even a separate policy.

Now that you have an idea where to start, procrastinate, no longer! While no one thinks anything bad will ever happen to them, if it does, and it involves damage to your personal belongings or house, detailed inventory will be a benefit you will be glad to have.

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