TITLE 12

Decedents' Estates and Fiduciary Relations

Administration of Decedents' Estates

CHAPTER 19. ASSETS OF ESTATES; INVENTORY AND APPRAISAL


(a) Estates in lands, tenements and hereditaments held by the decedent for the life of another shall be chattels; and such estates, estates by elegit or for years, the crop of the decedent growing or begun (except on lands devised by the decedent), bank and other stock, money (whether in hand or deposited), and all goods and chattels shall be assets and included in the inventory.

(b) The following articles shall not be included in the inventory: The family Bible; clothes of the decedent; and the family stores laid in before the death of the decedent.

(c) If, under the terms of any insurance policy or contract, pension, bonus, stock option or other employee benefit or incentive plan, a person, trust or corporation, other than the decedent or the decedent's estate's personal representative, is designated to receive, upon or after the death of the decedent, any property or other death benefit, such property or death benefit shall not be included in the inventory of the decedent as chargeable to the decedent's personal representative; and such person, trust or corporation shall be entitled to such property or death benefits as against the claim of any personal representative, creditor, legatee or next of kin of the decedent.

(d) Subsection (c) of this section shall apply to designations whether made prior to or subsequent to the enactment of this section with respect to decedents dying after June 30, 1969. This section shall have no effect on the validity of other designations, nor shall it affect the calculations of estate taxes with respect to any decedent.

Code 1852, § 1804; Code 1915, § 3363; Code 1935, § 3828; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1901; 57 Del. Laws, c. 76; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 353, § 6.;

(a) The rents and profits of the real estate of the deceased which shall come into the hands of the executor or administrator shall be assets for the payment of debts, and the executor or administrator shall be chargeable therewith accordingly; and upon a demand of the heir or devisee for such rents and profits it shall be a sufficient answer that the same have been applied to debts against the deceased, or that there are such debts to which they are applicable.

(b) Nothing in this section shall give to the executor or administrator any right of possession of the real estate; but if in possession, the executor or administrator shall, with the rents and profits, keep the premises in tenantable repair.

Code 1852, § 1831; Code 1915, § 3375; Code 1935, § 3840; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1902; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

When there is a crop growing or begun, the executor or administrator may finish or sell it as deemed best for the estate. If finishing the crop, the executor's or administrator's account shall comprehend the proceeds and expenses.

Code 1852, § 1814; Code 1915, § 3368; Code 1935, § 3833; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1903; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The personal representative may employ 1 or more qualified and disinterested appraisers to assist in ascertaining the fair market value as of the date of the decedent's death of any asset the value of which may be subject to reasonable doubt. Different persons may be employed to appraise different kinds of assets included in the estate. The names and addresses of any appraiser shall be indicated on the inventory with the item or items being appraised.

Code 1852, §§ 1805, 1806; Code 1915, § 3364; Code 1935, § 3829; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1904; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Every executor or administrator shall, within 3 months after the granting of letters testamentary or of administration, file in the office of the Register of Wills of the county in which the letters have been granted, an inventory and appraisal and shall also file a copy of said inventory and appraisal in the office of the Register of Wills of any county in which the decedent owned real estate, which shall contain an inventory of all goods and chattels of the decedent, a list of all debts and credits due or belonging to the decedent or to the decedent's estate, and a statement setting forth a general description of every parcel of real estate in this State of which the decedent died seized, which description shall include the parcel identification number assigned to said parcel, and the name of each party entitled to any estate or interest in any part of such real or personal estate and the relationship, if any, of each such party to the decedent. Each item of property included in such inventory, list and statement, shall be separately valued at its fair market value as of the date of death of the decedent and such value shall be stated in the inventory and appraisal.

(b) The inventory and appraisal shall be supported by an affidavit of each executor or administrator.

(c) The executor's or administrator's affidavit shall be as follows:

"........ makes solemn oath (or affirmation) that due inquiry concerning the goods, chattels and money of, and the debts and credits due or belonging to..........., deceased has been made, and that this inventory and list contains all the goods, chattels and money of, and debts or credits due or belonging to the said..........., which have come to the knowledge of the deponent (or affirmant) and that the information contained in the statement of real estate and the information pertaining to transfers of property, powers of appointment, entireties and jointly owned real and personal property and annuity contracts is true to the best of deponent's (or affirmant's) knowledge and belief.''

(d) Every executor or administrator shall, in the event [that] any action affecting title to real estate of the decedent in Delaware is brought in any court, whether by way of caveat, petition for review, petition for instructions or otherwise, within 10 days after such action, file a notice of the pendency of such action in the office of the Register of Wills of any county in which the decedent owned real estate other than the county in which letters had been granted. Nothing in this subsection shall affect any other notice that may be filed concerning such an action.

(e) When no letters testamentary or of administration are required for an estate and real property passes to any person by virtue of joint ownership with right of survivorship or tenancy by the entireties with the decedent, then the personal representative (as defined in § 101 of this title) or the surviving joint tenant shall, within 3 months after the decedent's death, shall complete and file an affidavit in the office of the Register of Wills of the county in which the real property is located with a statement setting forth a general description of the real estate and the name or names of the surviving owner or owners.

Code 1852, §§ 1807-1812; 25 Del. Laws, c. 225, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 1; Code 1915, §§ 148, 3365, 3366; 37 Del. Laws, c. 8, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 139, 3830, 3831; 41 Del. Laws, c. 191, §§ 1, 3; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1905; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 252, §§ 2, 3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 342, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 352, § 1.;

(a) Any executor or administrator who fails to file the inventory, list and statement with the Register of Wills within 3 months after the granting of letters testamentary or of administration shall be subject, personally and individually, to a penalty of $1 per day for each day delinquent. This penalty shall not apply until 1 month after notice by the Register of Wills of such delinquency.

(b) Any executor or administrator who fails to file the inventory, list and statement as required by § 1905 of this title, after being ordered to do so by the Court of Chancery, shall be subject to penalty for contempt of Court.

Code 1852, § 1812; 25 Del. Laws, c. 225, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 1; Code 1915, §§ 148, 3366; 37 Del. Laws, c. 8, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 139, 3831; 41 Del. Laws, c. 8, § 9; 41 Del. Laws, c. 191, § 3; 42 Del. Laws, c. 59, § 1; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1906; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 252, § 4.;

Where there are several executors or administrators, if either of them refuses or neglects to join in the inventory or list of debts, the Court of Chancery shall remove the person or persons from office, unless the person or persons shall cause an inventory or list to be made and delivered on the person's own behalf.

Code 1852, § 1813; Code 1915, § 3367; Code 1935, § 3832; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1907; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

An affidavit, signed by the executor or administrator and declaring upon oath or affirmation that the executor or administrator has diligently inquired and can obtain no knowledge of any goods or chattels of the decedent, shall be a sufficient excuse for not delivering an inventory; and a like affidavit that the executor or administrator has diligently inquired and can obtain no knowledge of any debts or credits due or belonging to the decedent shall be a sufficient excuse for not delivering a list. Such affidavit shall be certified by the Register of Wills and filed with the bond.

Code 1852, § 1812; Code 1915, § 3366; Code 1935, § 3831; 41 Del. Laws, c. 191, § 3; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1908; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The making of a person executor shall not extinguish any demand of the decedent against said person, but the same shall be truly inserted in the list of debts.

Code 1852, §§ 1807-1811; Code 1915, § 3365; Code 1935, § 3830; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1910; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

If, after the return of an inventory or list of debts, personal estate or debts due the decedent, not included therein, shall come to the knowledge of the executor or administrator, the executor or administrator shall cause an additional inventory or list to be made and returned into the Register of Wills' office.

Code 1852, § 1815; Code 1915, § 3369; Code 1935, § 3834; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1911; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Court of Chancery may order an inventory or list of debts to be suppressed, or adjudge the same imperfect and order another to be made and filed in the office of the Register of Wills. No inventory or list of debts shall be suppressed or adjudged imperfect because of any defect in the affidavit or in any certificate of any oath or affirmation.

Code 1852, §§ 1816, 1817; Code 1915, § 3370; Code 1935, § 3835; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1912; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 3; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1.;

(a) Every inventory, list and statement filed pursuant to § 1905 of this title, shall be recorded and indexed by the Register of Wills in the "Inheritance and Succession Docket.''

(b) Whenever any parcel of real estate or any estate or interest therein described in the statement of the executor or administrator or affidavit filed pursuant to § 1905(e) of this title shall be subject to estate taxes under Title 30, the Register of Wills shall make an entry in the Inheritance and Succession Docket that the real estate is subject to tax, and in the event of an appeal to the Superior Court from a determination by the State Tax Appeal Board of the amount of estate taxes to be paid, shall further note in said docket the fact of appeal. When any estate tax due this State shall be paid and discharged, the Register shall make a note thereof in the docket, upon notice from the Division of Revenue of payment.

25 Del. Laws, c. 225, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 1; Code 1915, § 148; 37 Del. Laws, c. 8, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 1; Code 1935, § 139; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 1913; 59 Del. Laws, c. 384, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 353, § 7; 72 Del. Laws, c. 342, § 2.;