Is an appraisal required?

 In Learning Center

appraisalWill there have to be an appraisal of the estate assets? That depends on what property is in the estate.

Three months after an executor or administrator is appointed in an estate, an estate inventory must be filed with the probate court to show which assets the estate is managing and the values of those assets. If the decedent only owned accounts, then there really isn’t a problem with the values of the assets on the date of death. Once the executor or administrator is appointed, the bank can generally provide the balances on the date of death to submit to the probate court. The bank account situation is the easy situation to get a value.

In most instances, the court will accept the county auditor’s value to show the decedent’s interest in real estate. The only exception might be if you feel that the county’s value of the property is too high or too low. The executor or administrator is not obligated to use the county’s value. A private real estate appraisal can be submitted with an estate inventory if the county real appraiser is not accurate.

If the decedent owned something more difficult to value, that is typically where an appraisal is needed. Coin and stamp collections, classic vehicles, and business interests will generally have to be appraised for the estate inventory.

The appraisal shouldn’t be looked at as an unnecessary expense. An executor doesn’t know how to find the appropriate value for a classic car. Sure the executor can go to a website and find a value, but that won’t always work. That approach is like trying to place a value on a number line. The executor’s obligation is to maximize the value of estate assets.  That appraisal can prevent the executor from selling an asset for too little. At the same time, the appraisal can prevent the executor from valuing an asset so high that it cannot be sold.

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