Determining the value of an estate can be integral to the estate planning process, as it can provide a clear understanding of the estate tax obligations that loved ones may face in the future. And this, in turn, can be important to putting the right plans in place now to reduce these obligations and ensure that as much of an estate as possible is transferred to loved ones, rather than the government.
While the estate evaluation process can be complicated, depending on the nature and extent of the assets held by the estate, in general, the process involves the following steps:
- Setting or determining the date of calculation – The date of calculation refers to the date upon which the death occurred. For those who are calculating the value of their own estate (or someone else who is still living), any date can be selected. This date, however, will be essential to assessing the value of property that can fluctuate with time (like real estate and vehicles).
- Figuring out the value of cash and bank assets – Look for bank statements for checking and savings accounts. If the estate includes assets held in a safe or safety deposit box (like cash), be sure to include the value of these assets as well.
- Creating an inventory of the remaining assets – An inventory of the remaining assets of an estate can include items like homes, other real estate, and personal property (like jewelry or other valuables). As you develop this inventory, be sure to look for ownership and/or valuation documents associated with specific assets.
- Getting appraisals if needed – For property on the estate inventory that does not have a clear or obvious value, establishing the value may require a formal appraisal. So, follow through with this option if needed as part of the estate evaluation process.
- Including jointly held property and insurance policies – The value of jointly held real estate and bank accounts should also be included in estate evaluations, along with the value of life insurance policies.
- Including the available deductions – Once you have totaled the value of the estate, apply any relevant deductions. This step may require the help of an experienced tax and/or estate attorney, who may be able to point out deductions you are not aware of.
- Crunching the numbers – At this point, you should have the numbers necessary figure out the value of the estate. With this value in hand, you can now determine the estate tax obligations for the estate.
Contact the Trinidad and Pueblo Estate Attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth
If you are ready to develop or revise an estate plan, the Trinidad and Pueblo estate attorneys at Gradisar, Trechter, Ripperger & Roth are ready to provide you with the highest quality legal services.
To learn more about our superior legal services and how we can assist you, contact us by calling (719) 556- 8844 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. From our offices based in Pueblo, we represent clients in Trinidad, La Jara, Lamar, Walsenburg, Alamosa and throughout the state of Colorado.