J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Putting a value on the property of an estate

One aspect to estate administration that residents of Polk County, Florida, may overlook is the placing of a value on the estate's property.

While not garnering as much attention as, say, will contests or questions about the interpretation or applicability of a will, how the executor chooses to value the estate can have an effect on the distribution of assets to heirs, and not valuing property correctly could mean someone gets the short end of the stick. The value of an estate can also in certain circumstances have significant tax implications.

Sometimes, it's relatively easy to put a value on a piece of property. For example, a bank account has a set dollar amount in it on any given day, so correctly valuing it means simply figuring out how much was in the account at the time of the decedent's death. Other property that is on the open market, such as a publicly traded stock, can also be relatively easy to value

In other cases, though, getting the value of a piece of property can be difficult. One good example of this is when the decedent owned stock or an equivalent interest in a family business or other private firm. As these sorts of businesses do not have a clearly established price per share, it may require the experience of an estate attorney working with the proper expert in order to get an accurate value on the business.

There are, however, techniques that an average person can use in order to at least ballpark how much a family business is worth.

Putting a value on the property in an estate is one of the most important tasks an executor of an estate in Florida will oversee. For this reason, it is critical that the process is handled according to the law and with accuracy and completeness as the ultimate goal.

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