Client Alert

How Are Collectibles Appraised In Probate?

You are sorting through your deceased parent’s assets when you stumble upon their beloved stamp collection. You research the stamps and discover that they could be worth a substantial amount of money. In probate, it is critical to have collectibles appraised when compiling an inventory of the estate’s assets.

As a personal representative, it can be a good idea to understand the basics of appraisals during probate and what you can expect.

What is a probate referee?

In California, probate referees are individuals appointed by the California State Controller’s office who have been certified in to appraise assets. Probate referees will appraise the collectibles to determine their date of death values.

How are the values of collectibles determined?

To determine the fair market value of personal property such as collectibles, probate referees will:

• Review the condition of the items

• Compare the collectibles to similar items on the market

• Determine the age of the items

How long does the appraisal process take?

The appraisal process can take anywhere from one to three months. After the stamps have been appraised and you have recorded the appraisal amounts on the Inventory and Appraisal form, you must file it with the court and provide copies to the heirs of the estate. Keep in mind that you are only given a limited time to file the inventory of assets.

Depending on the estate’s assets, probate can be complex and difficult to navigate on your own, especially when it comes to the appraisal of collectibles. Consulting with a seasoned probate attorney as you begin the probate process can be a good idea to ensure that you understand your responsibilities and duties as a personal representative.

Posted in Client Alert, Tips (How & Why).