Many elements within a household can affect the overall value of a property. These items include art, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, musical instruments, and the house itself.
Reviews provide a timely snapshot of the value of each item. This helps an estate planning attorney structure the equitable distribution of assets precisely as dictated by the client.
There are many forms of art: paintings made with watercolor, oil, acrylic, and mixed media; Lithographic printing, screen printing and other techniques; Photography, ceramics and sculptures made of many different materials. You may have never heard of the artist, but his work can sell for big bucks. How do you know if what you have collected, inherited, or are preparing to sell is worth a fortune or a pittance?
Turn to the experts at a well-established and reputable appraisal organization. They require members to abide by the Code of Ethics, as well as the Standard Standards for the Practice of Professional Evaluation. They charge an hourly wage, which can vary widely (i.e. from $25 to over $300 an hour) depending on their experience and expertise.
Obtaining current technical valuations is important for several reasons: knowing the fair market value or replacement value for complete insurance protection against loss or damage; for estate or divorce settlements; to evaluate charitable donations; And for sellers who want to know how to price artwork fairly.
You may think that jewelry you have inherited or plan to sell or insure is too expensive. You won’t know for sure unless you have a qualified jeweler who inspects and evaluates each piece. Make sure the appraiser is a qualified professional appraiser for jewelry. They must be graduate students in gemology and be affiliated with a national personal property appraisal organization.
Are pearls natural or cultured? What is the setting? How does clarity, color and cut affect the price of a gemstone? Is it 24 karat gold? Appraisals can affect property taxes if the jewelry is worth several thousand dollars. Get the jeweler’s cash value report at today’s market price. Then you will have an idea of a fair selling price, or a starting point for securing jewelry.
– Valuation of musical instruments
Musical instruments can be very valuable, yet many people sell them for pennies on the dollar, often without their knowledge. Think of the person who bought an $8000 piano for $250 at a yard sale. Guitars, brass horns, violins, banjos (yes, even the often mocked banjo), and other instruments may be more valuable than you think. Or you may overvalue a mass-produced tool.
The only way to know the value of a musical instrument, either for legal purposes such as insurance, divorce settlement or probate, or to determine a valid selling price, is to hire a knowledgeable appraiser. They will charge a fee to provide a written assessment.
Assessment of collectibles
Collectibles can have monetary value, or perhaps just sentimental value. For those who collect photos and items that depict their favorite animals, such as owls, frogs, turtles, elephants, etc., chances are, the value is sentimental.
Modern day collectibles such as vinyl record albums, Hummel ceramics, baseball cards, pocket dragons, and other items may or may not have monetary value. With antique collections like watches, irons, toys, prints, furniture, advertisements, glass, pottery, etc., you can start making real money.
How do you know for sure? Take it to an expert who can verify its authenticity and prove its value. But don’t just rely on the expert who wants to buy your items, as they may offer a low price.
Home appraisals provide an informed estimate of the actual value of your home. Banks and lenders need to know this number to determine the value of the collateral for a mortgage loan. If you sell the house, the appraisal provides you with a fixed asking price. The appraisals also provide a starting point for a reverse mortgage, if you plan to stay in your home.
Appraisers will consider the conditions of the home’s exterior, materials, interior quality, amenities, updates, and front and back yards. They can also perform sales comparisons, also known as comps, to get similar home prices in your area and recent market trends in the area.
It takes time and money to get the latest reviews on these valuable items. Don’t let your customers wait until someone dies to get that important part of the legacy in order.
Jill Rubin, Certified Secondary Specialist and The Doyenne of Death®, is a leading educator in the field of death education. She uses humor, funny movie clips, and out-of-the-box activities to teach end-of-life pre-planning. She curated the award-winning Before I Die New Mexico festival, and was honored by Albuquerque Business First with the 2019 Influential Woman Award. She is also the author of three books on end-of-life issues and a certified funeral celebrant. Her website is www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Lawyers, Inc.
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