Estate Tax - Date of Death Appraisal

When a family member passes, not only are there emotional and family needs to be tended to, there are also many important practical considerations and requirements that require professional attention. The majority of these tasks often fall on the shoulders of the executor or administrator of the descendant's estate. In some cases, Federal and / or State Tax returns must be filed, and often a professional appraisal by a certified or licensed appraiser is required along with the filing. Other times, the descendent has requested the proceeds from the sale of a property in trust be divided among multiple heirs. In these situations, a market value appraisal is required to determine the opinion of value of the property, so that family members can move forward and make informed decisions regarding the inherited real estate.

Golden State Appraisals, Inc. provides a wide range of residential and commercial appraisal services for the specific purpose of estate planning. We are often contacted by attorneys. CPA's and family members to perform a "date of death" appraisal of real estate in order to aid in establishing an opinion of value to be used for estate tax liability or trust purposes. This type of appraisal is typically used to form an opinion of value as of the date of death of the descendent. However, there may be situations in which the effective date of the report may reflect a date up to (6) months after the date of passing.

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What's the whole process?

How it Works

Step 1: Research


Once an appraisal has been ordered, our staff will begin to research recorded information regarding the subject property. Golden State Appraisals, Inc. maintains access to numerous specialized data bases in order to obtain property information and data. Potential comparable properties are identified for further investigation. The research process is on-going and continues throughout the entire appraisal process up until the time the assignment is complete. "Date of Death" Appraisals require the professional skills and data bases used by our company to obtain and research comparable property information and market analysis contemporaneous to the retrospective effective date.

Step 2: Inspection


A physical inspection of the property is scheduled at the time of order. Golden State Appraisals, Inc. offers appointments 7 days a week, for your convenience in scheduling. Our office staff will be happy work with you to ensure you secure an appointment that works best for the scheduling concerns of all parties involved.


The physical inspection generally takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size and condition of the property being inspected. Usually a full inspection is requested for estate tax estimation & probate settlement purposes. This type of appraisal required the appraiser to take measurements, and view, photograph and document all components of the property, both exterior and interior. We also offer exterior-only or "drive-by" appraisals, for those assignments that do not require the full inspection.

Step 3: Reporting


The appraiser's findings and photographs are input into an appraisal report, specifically designed and formatted for the type of assignment completed. A detailed market analysis is conducted, and important documentation such as location mapping, plat maps, and appraiser sketches are added into the report, with the aid of cutting edge software. The report is delivered electronically to our client, via emailed PDF, upon completion. A hard copy may be requested at no additional charge. Typically, a report is completed 24-72 hours after the inspection.

Step 4: Testimony


Estate planning and probate issues are often resolved in court and may be reviewed by government agencies such as the IRS. Often expert testimony may be requested from the appraiser to explain his/her opinion of value determined by the appraisal report. All Golden State Appraisal, Inc. appraisers are experienced and comfortable in a courtroom setting, and are able to present their findings in a professional and clear manner. We conduct ALL appraisals as if they were going to be presented in court, so that you are guaranteed of a professional, legally-defendable opinion of value. Our office is aware of the unique time constraints often involved with estate tax appraisals and will work with you and your attorney or CPA to ensure reports are completed in a timely manner. Expert witness testimony is based on an hourly fee rate, available upon request and as needed.