Appraise probate assets

Probate assets that do not have an assigned cash value (such as a bank account) must be professionally appraised to identify their fair market value.

Asset appraisal is the process of determining an official estimate what price something might be sold for or its "fair market value".

Once valued, it should be noted on the official estate inventory, if one is required, and filed with the probate court in the county and state where the deceased lived for official approval.

Even if an official estate inventory is not required by the probate court, creating an inventory may be helpful for the executor to determine the fair market value of estate assets. This way, the executor can ensure they are distributing property fairly according to the deceased’s will or state law, if no will exists.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More To determine if an official Estate inventory is required, review the “Create an inventory of all estate assets, bills, and debt" section of the Guide.

Typically, heirs of an estate receive a percentage of the estate’s total value, so it is beneficial to know the value of estate assets.

For instance, Jane Doe’s will says that each of her three children are to receive 1/3rd of her estate. By knowing the total value of Jane's assets, the executor will be able to divide Jane’s estate into even thirds, according to the terms of Jane’s will.

AutumnIcons_Providers.svgProviders Contact a professional appraiser in the area where the deceased lived to determine the fair market value of probate assets. Find appraisers near you at the links below.

Helpful Tips

Some common probate assets that are appraised include, but are not limited to:

  • Real estate owned solely by the deceased
  • Vehicles owned solely by the deceased
  • Businesses in which the deceased had an interest
  • Jewelry
  • Art
  • Collectibles
  • Household items

An appraiser is a professional who can determine the monetary value of something like art, a home, or a vehicle.

A professional is usually needed to determine the value of physical possessions, because an internet search alone is not enough to determine an item’s value.

Art, for instance, can be particularly difficult to value, because one needs to know whether it’s an original, who created the piece, its condition, the subject matter, period, and style.

While appraisers aren’t required to be licensed, it helps to look for licensed appraisers who have experience with estate appraisals.

Make sure to ask how much the appraiser charges, because some charge an hourly fee whereas others charge a flat percentage of the estate.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant It can be a conflict of interest for an appraiser to both appraise items and sell the items they’ve valued. While doing so is not illegal, it is unethical because the appraiser could take advantage of the estate by underpricing or overpricing items.

Providers to Contact

Appraisers Near You

An appraiser is a professional who specializes in estimating the value of property. They can help you estimate the value of the deceased’s assets.

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