Estate Appraisals

Date of Death Appraisal, Time of Death Appraisal,
Appraisal for Probate, Historical or Retrospective Appraisal

Settling an estate is oftentimes a difficult and challenging task.  Most don’t know the first thing about settling an estate until you are in the position of executor, administrator, or special master of an estate.  For some, this can be an overwhelming, maybe even a daunting task, and you’ll want to have the right people on your team!  Let’s face it, you’re already grieving the loss of a loved one, and navigating the legal part is not easy.  Cullen Real Estate and Appraisal Company is an estate specialist, handling estate appraisals in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
If you have been directed by your family, attorney, accountant, or financial planner to obtain a Date of Death Appraisal (sometimes known as a Time of Death Appraisal or Retrospective Appraisal) or an appraisal for Probate, you’ve landed in the right place.  Cullen Real Estate and Appraisal Company is here to help with all your estate appraisal needs. We aim to make this as seamless of a process as we possibly can!  Tom Cullen is a state-certified residential real estate appraiser in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and has been for over 30 years!  Tom is extremely familiar with estate appraisals, and he completes 400+ estate appraisals per year!  Jessica is in the office, and her compassion will make you feel at ease the moment you call!  Jessica will provide all the information that you need about the appraisal, pricing, and process, whilst never pressuring you to do anything but what is best for you and your family!  We want to help you make a wise financial decision for you and your family!

What is an Estate Appraisal?

Estate appraisals are commonly used for the equitable distribution of assets between surviving heirs.  An estate appraisal should be performed by a certified appraiser in the state in which the property is located.  An appraisal will take a snapshot in time of the property for future reference.  It is important to have a defensible document that is well-presented and supported.  Two of the most common reasons why you might need an appraisal are for estate taxes (IRS estate tax), or for probate court.  Often, you will be requested to obtain a certified appraisal of the subject property by your attorney, accountant, or by probate court.  You may be asked to have the appraisal performed as of the date of death (sometimes referred to as time of death), also known as the date that your loved one passed away.  A third type of estate appraisal exists where you may be estate planning, or equitably dividing the asset between interested parties.  A certified appraisal will provide the current market value of the property so that you may negotiate a fair settlement.  This appraisal may also be useful in the event of a dispute or other legal issues.

What is a Date of Death Appraisal?

Date of Death Appraisals (alternatively called “Date of Death Valuation” or “Time of Death Appraisal”) will help to determine the Fair Market Value of the real estate as of the date or time of the owner’s passing.  Date of Death Appraisals should be completed by an experienced, state-certified real estate appraiser.  This appraiser is referred to as a “qualified appraiser” by the IRS.  The date of death appraisal may be ordered by anyone involved in the estate settlement process.  Some of the parties who may order an estate appraisal may be (but are not limited to): the executor, administrator, special master, family member, attorney, accountant, or financial planner.  Typically, the appraisal is completed after the date of death, or the date of your loved one’s passing.  It also may be referred to as a “retrospective appraisal.” This means that although the inspection date may be later in time, the effective date of the appraisal is a date in the past (date of death or time of death).  If there have been market changes since the time of your loved one’s passing and the current date, we can provide a current market value as well for the property for an additional fee.

Appraisal Process

We are often asked about our appraisal process and what you need to do in advance of the appraisal.  The simple answer is you do not need to do anything to prepare in advance!  Simply let Tom Cullen and Jessica Delmonico of Cullen Real Estate and Appraisal Company guide you and make this an easy, painless process!

Tom Cullen is the owner and chief appraiser of our company, and Tom will handle this appraisal personally.  Tom Cullen is an estate specialist.  Tom will come out to your property and conduct an interior and exterior inspection.  Tom is looking for quality, condition, and amenities that the home may or may not have over others in the area.

We will fully research the property which includes mapping, location, looking at the flood locus, and updating the FEMA flood maps, municipal data, and public records.

Most importantly, we will look at comparable sales and we look for sales most recent (closest to the date of death), proximate, and similar to the home that you have.  We will put everything into a report that contains your value conclusion, along with all the supporting documentation.  That report is 100% defensible, and you can use it as the tool in your toolbox, or take it to your attorney, accountant, etc.! 

What happens if we cannot enter the property?  Sometimes it is just not possible for us to enter the property.  Maybe someone is living on the property, but it is a difficult or tenuous situation where they do not or cannot be disturbed.  Maybe the property has already been sold, and access is no longer available.  This is no problem!  Cullen Real Estate and Appraisal Company has over 30 years of experience in this type of situation.  We will conduct what is known as a desktop appraisal.  This type of appraisal uses information gathered from our intended user, public records, and MLS (multiple listing service) to provide the same type of defensible, credible, and accurate valuation.  No inspection of the property is necessary, or we may do a drive-by inspection only depending on the situation and our client’s wishes/needs.  

FAQ’s about Date of Death Appraisals

 According to the IRS, an appraisal should be done within six months following the date of death.  However, we find that every estate situation is different, and we certainly do not proclaim to be attorneys or accountants, therefore we ask that you check with your attorney or tax professional first.  We will do our very best to accommodate your specific needs.  We want to make sure that you are making a wise financial decision for yourself and your family! 

The date of death appraisal is needed to determine the fair market value of the real estate as of the owner’s date of death. This is necessary when settling the estate either in probate, settling the IRS estate tax or equitably dividing the asset.

FMV stands for Fair Market Value. According to the IRS, Fair Market Value is “…the price that property would sell for on the open market.  In our words, Tom Cullen says that it is “the most probable price that the typical purchaser would purchase this property for”

If the market has changed significantly and we feel that there is a change in value between the date of death and what the current value of the property, we can also provide a current market value either at the time that we issue the date of death appraisal, or we can also do this at any point thereafter.  We will have been to the home already, and a second site visit will not be necessary.  Please note, if the dates are close enough, sometimes only one appraisal will be needed. 

Ready to get started with this service?

Cullen Real Estate
and Appraisal Company

Residential Real Estate Appraisals Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Locations SerVICED
In Massachusetts we service the following counties:

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