How to Assign a Value to Property in a Will

By Anna Assad

Assigning values to property in your will helps you balance your will's provisions and avoid will contests after your death by unsatisfied beneficiaries. The evaluation of property included in a will during probate, the proceeding used to settle an estate of a person who left a will, is usually the responsibility of the executor, the person named in the will or appointed by the court to oversee the estate's financial affairs.

Assigning values to property in your will helps you balance your will's provisions and avoid will contests after your death by unsatisfied beneficiaries. The evaluation of property included in a will during probate, the proceeding used to settle an estate of a person who left a will, is usually the responsibility of the executor, the person named in the will or appointed by the court to oversee the estate's financial affairs.

For Your Estate Planning Purposes

Step 1

Write down the address of each piece of real estate you own. Mark the list "Real Estate."

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Step 2

Write down the make, model, year and condition of each motor vehicle you own. Also include boats, campers and motorcycles. Name the list "Vehicles."

Step 3

List any household items you own with a high value. Include antiques, family heirlooms, jewelery and rare collections. Do not include small items, like towels, or appliances and common electronics, like a computer. Name the list "Personal Items."

Step 4

Visit the official website of the property tax office in your area to view estimated market values for properties near yours with similar features. Contact the tax office if you cannot view the information online and request assessed values for addresses of comparable real estate near yours. Write down the figures you are given. Contact local real estate agencies. Request a list of comparable sales near your address. Review the sales list and compare the values to the figures you received from the tax office. Assign values to the property on your Real Estate list based on the average of the sales list and tax office figures.

Step 5

Visit the official website of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Use the search feature to find current values for motor vehicles, motorcycles and campers you own. Write the value next to the corresponding vehicle on your Vehicle list.

Step 6

Visit the official website of the American Boating Association. Use the "Boat Pricing" feature to look up the value of any boats you own. Enter the value next to the boat on your Vehicle list.

Step 7

Have jewelry, antiques and family heirlooms appraised by a professional. Jewelry and antique dealers in your area typically have professional appraisals available for a fee. Insert the appraised value after each item on your Personal Items list.

For Probate Proceedings

Step 1

List all of the real estate the deceased person owned. Contact a licensed appraiser in your area to schedule an appraisal for each property; probate courts typically require an official appraisal. Contact local real estate agencies and request a list of appraisers in your area if needed. The value for each property will be shown on the appraiser's report.

Step 2

Write down details about the vehicles, boats, motorcycles and campers the deceased person owned. Consult with your attorney or the probate court to determine acceptable documentation for market value of vehicles; the requirements vary by area.

Step 3

List the deceased person's high-value items, like jewelry, antiques and collections. Talk to your attorney or consult the probate court and request a list of acceptable appraisers for these items. The court may require an official appraisal of high-value items, but the professionals you may use depend on the court's requirements.

Step 4

Find the court-determined value for personal household goods. Probate courts generally allow you to enter a set amount, as determined by law, for common household items. Contact the probate court for the personal property value or visit the official website of the state probate court system to view the estate laws.

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Why Does a Probate Require an Appraisal on the Decedent's Property Upon Death?

References

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