Asset valuation: an often forgotten part of estate administration

by | Apr 28, 2017 | Estate Administration |

Particularly for those who have lost a loved one recently and are still expected to handle what was their property administering an estate can be an added stress and a time-consuming activity. Even in estates which are not being contested by disgruntled heirs, there is still a lot of administrative paperwork to do and steps to take, and this is true even if the property is part of a trust as opposed to a will that has to go through probate.

In all of the rush, it may be tempting for a Rochester, New York family who is trying to wrap up a loved one’s financial affairs to forget about the importance of asset valuation. Legally, a personal representative or the person in charge of a trust is expected to put an accurate value on all of the estate’s property. While this is fairly simple when it comes to things like cash or even publicly traded stock, it can be hard to put a value on real estate, a family business or other items like antiques or fine art.

Nevertheless, getting the correct value on a piece of property is very important. If a personal representative undervalues the property, they run the risk of disgruntling both heirs and taxing authorities, both of which may choose to litigate in order to get the property valued higher. On the flip side, putting too much value on a piece of property could mean paying too much in taxes and could also lead to unexpected financial trouble for the estate down the road, again leaving heirs feeling jilted.

Asset valuation is one of the many aspects estate administration professionals at our law office can help a family with, as how much value to put on a piece of property often involves a legal principle or question. We work with other professionals who evaluate property for a living and help our clients get it right the first time and thus save themselves a lot of headaches down the road.