Dec 26, 2013

Five Appraisal Options for First-Time Estate Executors

My friend Stan showed me the inventory that he’d just completed for his uncle’s estate. He was proud of his thoroughness; he claimed to have spent more than 150 hours compiling the inventory and acquiring valuations for the estate’s personal property. I complemented him on his meticulous work. As he drove away I grinned and shook my head, knowing that he could have had the entire inventory and valuation done in fewer than 20 hours on that particular estate, (including typing the report!).

Stan made the mistake that many first-time estate executors make: too much detail in the inventory report. He made the job harder than it needed to be. If Stan was employed fulltime rather than being retired, I’m sure he could not have devoted as much time to this inventory.

An important part of the estate’s settlement documents, the inventory of tangible personal property is the most time-consuming to prepare. The value of most estate assets (stocks, bonds, bank accounts, insurance policies, etc.) can be determined by simply looking at the latest statement. The value of personal property, though, has to be researched, and that can be time consuming. Read More

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