Estate & Probate Appraisals

Estate and Probate appraisals utilize Fair Market Value and are specifically prepared to provide accurate valuations for estate professionals, probate courts, beneficiaries and the IRS. Fair Market Value appraisal reports are used for estate planning, reporting of tangible personal property to the court, equitable distribution and help determine PA State and Federal estate tax liability.

Why is an Appraisal Required?

Pennsylvania is one of the few states in the country in which inheritance tax is imposed as a percentage of the value of a decedent's estate transferred to beneficiaries by will, heirs by intestacy and transferees by operation of law. The tax rate varies depending on the relationship of the heir to the decedent.

The rates for Pennsylvania inheritance tax are as follows:

  • 0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child aged 21 or younger;

  • 4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs;

  • 12 percent on transfers to siblings; and

  • 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax.

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Appraisal of a decedent's estate is required in order to assess the actual cash value of the estate in its entirety. The total cash value of an estate is based on the cash value of individual assets. The appraisals help determine the value of the assets, so the estate can be divided equally. Some provisions of probate law require equal distribution of assets among heirs, such as all living children. Many wills also require assets to be divided equally among two or more heirs. Both estates distributed through probate and estates distributed by will depend on professional appraisals to determine property values. Federal and state law also require the estate to be appraised, in order to assess the overall value of its property and tax it accordingly - which is especially true when valuing assets in high-value estates to determine whether federal estate taxes are due, as well as in states that impose inheritance tax.

Since 2002, Kurt Shaw & Co. has had experience in dealing with estate and date of death valuations. In fact, a large number of attorneys, accountants and financial planners have come to rely on Kurt Shaw & Co. for our expertise when formulating real property values during estate settlement proceedings.

© 2021 Kurt Shaw & Co., Inc.