Estate Appraisals – What Your Appraiser Needs

By August 17, 2016Appraisal Tips

If a loved one has passed, it’s a difficult time for family members trying to sort through the estate and finding an appraiser to deal with the IRS and settle the estate in a timely manner. The process can be emotionally stressful and the overall estate planning can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to do. Here is some really good advice for finding the correct appraiser and getting a firm understanding as to what takes place.


The Estate and The Appraisal:

After the decedent’s death, the estate is transferred to family members and heirs through inheritances. One of the best reasons to find an appraiser is to deal with the tax issues that always surround the distribution and amount of the inheritance. Commonly, appraisers are either accountants or attorneys that understand the tax laws and issues when dealing with the government and the IRS.

An appraisal of the estate is required to assess the cash value of the entire estate. Appraisals aide in determining the overall value of assets in order to divide everything equally.

In some cases, appraisals can be acted upon within a few week, but most probate appraisals will take anywhere from 2 to 6 months after the death of someone. For example, the amount of property involved or the number of heirs can dictate the amount of time it will take to process everything legally and properly.

Retrospective Appraisal:

The property of a deceased might actually get appraised this week, but the appraised property will be valued at the time the person passed away. So, if your loved one died in June of 2013 and it’s now February of 2015, the appraiser will inspect the property and base their conclusions on the market value in June of 2013.

What Your Appraiser Needs:

When you have chosen an appraiser, you need to provide a death certificate for them to work with. As said previously, he or she will provide the value of the estate from the actual death.

If you have an attorney or CPA, this person will also be listed as a user of the appraisal report. Your attorney or CPA might be named as the trustee of the estate or if not, possibly there is no relevancy. Your appraiser will know who is or who is not relevant, so be sure and provide any information.

If a house or other property is involved, the appraiser will need to know if any changes have been made to the home or property since the time of the death. The appraiser will look at the condition of the property and ignore any changes or upgrades that have taken place since the time of the death.

When Should the Appraisal Take Place Regarding Taxes:

As the IRS does not set any time line for completing an appraisal, the appraiser can choose the date of death or up to 6 months after the death. The timing should be decided in order to take advantage of the market rising or falling so as to maximize any tax benefits. For an example, if the estate falls into a high rate of estate taxes, an appraisal may be established when the market value as at the lowest possible tax rate.

The appraisal must be completed before filing the estate tax return. The tax return is due within 9 months of the decedent’s death.

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