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Friday, June 3, 2016

ASK AN INSTRUCTOR: Can I legally group items by using the sales comparison approach based on experience without researching? And my client desires two values side by side. Is it okay to list the values of each item listing FMV first, followed by liquidation value?

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I'm appraising an estate now that's in probate. The problem is MANY things in the will were itemized that shouldn't have been, such as many basic household items. I want to group them because of little individual value, but using the sales comparison approach, can I do this legally based on experience without researching so many individual items? In other words, not having comparables and photos of each item?


My client desires two values side by side: Fair market value and wholesale value (or dealer value). Once the items are released back to her, she will probably sell them to a dealer. Is it okay to list the values of each item (or group of items) side by side, listing FMV first, followed by liquidation value?

Answer: Sure. Let me attempt both answers for you.

1. When things are itemized in a will, even though the values are minimal, you should value them separately. It provides information to the estate executor and/or heirs, even though it may not affect or have any tax consequences. You may have a very short description (I usually use what’s listed in the will) and then provide the valuation. It does not need elaborate description, photographs, or comparables. Just state in your cover letter that many values, particularly those of minimal value, were based on your own personal expertise in the market.

2. I would not use a probate or estate appraisal combined with a re-sale appraisal, especially wholesale. Instead, provide a separate appraisal with different numbers. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem. You are basically duplicating the other one but have a different intended use, objective, value definition, etc. The other option is to tell the client that wholesale values are probably 50% of those on the appraisal (or the appropriate percentage).

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