Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
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How can you determine the fair market value of estate assets?

If you have been asked to serve as the executor of an estate in Woodland Hills, a potentially daunting task lies before you: determining the fair market value of the estate’s inventory. Many go into an estate distribution vastly overestimating the value its assets. In reality, most estates in the U.S. are much more modest that most believe. According to information shared by CNN Money, the average value of an inheritance in America is $177,000. Yet when you are dealing with beneficiaries who may be expecting much more, convincing them that your valuations are sound can be difficult. Thus, it is imperative that you do your due diligence in getting an accurate estimate of your estate’s assets.

For assets such as investment accounts and real estate, determining their current value may be relatively easy given the many market tools that your have at your disposal. Valuing personal items, however, can be much more difficult. These can include:

  •          Artwork
  •          Jewelry
  •          Tools
  •          Coins
  •          Antiques

When determining the actual value of these items, it is recommended that you first perform a detailed inspection of them, noting any special features such as trademarks, manufacturer information, signatures, or certificates of authenticity. Then, research to find three similar items, and examine the prices at which they were most recently sold. Average out those three prices, and then add in the estimated value that you believe the unique features of your item offers. Finally, find an appraiser of similar items to examine yours and evaluate the valuation you gave it. Listen to his or her assessment, and use that information to formulate a final fair market price.

While these recommendations shouldn’t be taken as legal advice, they can help in satisfying the demands of stakeholders in an estate by assigning it a sound valuation. 

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