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Asset Valuation in Trust Administration

At Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, many of our cases are trust administration. When an individual has died with a trust, the successor trustee has to inventory all of the assets and value them before they are distributed to the named beneficiaries. Asset valuation can take some time to accomplish and may require specialized appraisers to assist. The date usually used for valuation purposes is the date of death.

A distinction needs to be made between assets which are trust assets and assets which may not be trust assets but nevertheless were owned by the decedent and therefore also need to be valued .How are the various types of assets valued?

Real property is valued by a real estate appraiser who provides a written report describing the property, its value on the date of death, and providing comparable sales which were used to determine value. Commercial property such as apartments, office buildings, farms, and ranches are appraised by real estate agents or appraisers who specialize in that type of property. Crops, animals, and equipment are valued separately from the real property.

Businesses, practices, partnerships, and corporations have to be valued taking into consideration the fair market value of the entity as a whole and also the value of the decedent’s interest. There are special appraisers who handle this type of assets and accountants may also be involved.

Cash on hand at the date of death is obviously easy to value, however coins and bills that have a value other than their face value are often appraised by a coin expert who determines their sale value. Bank accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, and CDs can be valued by obtaining bank statements showing the values at the date of death.

Cars, boats, and airplanes are valued by determining the sale price as of the date of death. Kelly Blue Book figures can be used for vehicles. Mobile homes, boats, motorcycles, and airplanes have similar publication that can be used as references.

Furniture and furnishing can be valued by having the household contents appraised by an appraiser specializing in household contents. If the value of such items is not significant, it may be possible to estimate the value. Any antiques, jewelry, or artwork should be appraised if they have a value in excess of $3,000.

We can assist you with valuing assets after a death and other aspects of trust administration if needed. Contact us for a complimentary appointment.

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