What is Probate?
When a loved one passes away, one of the responsibilities of their personal representative or executor is to manage and distribute their assets according to their wishes or state law. This process is known as probate, and it can be complex and time-consuming.
One question that always arises during the probate process is whether or not it is necessary to get an appraisal of the decedent’s personal property. The answer to this question depends on several factors, including state law and the nature of the assets.
Submitting an Inventory
In many states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, personal representatives and executors are required to submit an inventory of all tangible assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death, regardless of value. This includes real estate and personal property, such as furniture, antiques, artwork, and general residential contents. Depending on the state, the inventory must be submitted within a specific timeframe, which can range from 30 to 90 days after the estate is opened.
Submitting an inventory is a crucial step in the probate process, as it helps ensure that all of the decedent’s belongings are accounted for and distributed according to their wishes or state law. However, in order to determine the fair market value of those assets and comply with your state’s inheritance and estate tax requirements, it is recommended that you obtain an appraisal from a qualified and accredited appraiser.
What Courts Will Accept
Securing the services of an accredited personal property appraiser is important because the courts will not accept an appraisal or inventory if it’s completed by the personal representative. Moreover, if the deceased owned family heirlooms, artwork or other items that may be of interest to beneficiaries, you will need a qualified appraisal in order to determine the actual fair market value of those objects. This is essential because the value of your loved one’s assets can impact the estate’s tax liability and the amount that beneficiaries receive.
How To Obtain An Estate Appraisal
To obtain an estate appraisal, begin by retaining an accredited appraiser who has experience in valuing the type of assets in your loved one’s estate. Accredited appraisers are educated and skilled professionals who understand the market and the specific inventory reporting formats that may be required by your state. For example, in Maryland, personal representatives must comply with a specific format for submitting the inventory of assets. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in challenges to the estate and delays in the probate process.
Responsibility of Personal Representative or Executor
When all is said and done, it is your responsibility as the personal representative or executor of your loved one’s estate to carefully consider all of his or her assets and to obtain a qualified appraisal of their belongings for probate. Depending on that loved one’s Will and the nature of those possessions, an appraisal specialist will be necessary to accurately value the estate and ensure compliance with all state and federal requirements. Working with experienced professionals, such as qualified appraisers and probate attorneys, can help ensure that the probate process is handled efficiently and effectively, and that the assets are distributed to the rightful heirs and beneficiaries. That is where Harrison Appraisals, LLC can help.