Estate Planning and Probate Appraisals

Ascot Appraisals provides real estate appraisals for estate planning, probate, and date of death / retrospective “Fair Market Value” of properties in the Kern County and Bakersfield area. Of the estimated billions of dollars expected to be inherited by the baby boomer generation much of the assets are in real estate. Living trusts and tax avoidance methods have created a need for appraisals in regards to tax planning purposes prior to a property owner’s death, as well as settling an estate after death.

This link will take you to our online order form to order your estate or probate appraisal.

There are many situations where you need an experienced, qualified, and licensed appraisal expert to determine the retrospective “Fair Market Value” of property in your estate as of the date of death.

A probate case requires the decedent’s property to be appraised in order to determine the value of the property as of the date of death. The probate court needs to know the value of the estate prior to distribution of the assets. Probate cases primarily depend on professional appraisals to determine the value of properties held by the estate.

New IRS Tax Return Regulations (26 CFR part 1) requires taxpayers to obtain a “qualified appraisal” on real property by a “qualified appraiser.” The IRS has defined the appraisal standards that must be met along with verifiable minimum education, has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized organization, and/or have equivalent experience in valuing the type of property being appraised.

Additional examples of situations in which an appraisal is needed are as follows:

Sale to a relative
Partitioning an estate among the heirs or beneficiaries
Sale to a non-relative
Prior to listing the home for sale
Partial interest (typically income property)
Federal or state estate tax returns
Gifts and gift trusts
Determining the basis for capital gains tax

Important Definitions in regards to estate planning and probate appraisals:

Alternate valuation date – for federal estate tax purposes, the value of the gross estate six months after the date of death, unless property is distributed, sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of within six months, when the value is as of the date of disposition.

Beneficiary – person or organization who is legally entitled to receive gifts made under legal documents such as a trust or will.

Death taxes – Taxes levied on the property of a person who died. Federal taxes are called Estate Taxes. State taxes are called by various names, such as Inheritance Taxes.

Estate tax – tax imposed on the right of a person to transfer property at death (federal and some states)

Gift – property transferred freely to a person or institution, before or after a death

Gross estate – the total value of all property in which the decedent had an interest, and is included by the IRS code

Inheritance tax – tax levied on the rights of the heirs to receive property from a deceased person (some states)

Living trusts – set up while a person is alive and which remain under the control of that person until death. Used to minimize probate.

Probate – the process of proving the validity of the will and executing its provisions under the guidance of the appropriate public official

Taxable estate – assets minus liabilities, excluding property left to a surviving spouse or charity for federal estate taxes

Trust – one person or institution (trustee) controls property given to another person (trustor) for the benefit of a third person (beneficiary)