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Date Of Death Appraisals

The purpose of a date of death (DOD) appraisal is to determine the Fair Market Value (FMV) or Base Value of real estate as of the owner's passing, which is a crucial aspect of settling estate appraisals. These appraisals, often referred to as retrospective or historical appraisals, are typically completed after the date of death. Although the inspection date may occur later, the effective date of the appraisal is always going to be the date of death. Sometimes, a current value appraisal may be ordered simultaneously to determine the value at the time when the title is transferred. If the dates are close enough, only one appraisal may be necessary.

A date of death appraisal is conducted with specific purposes in mind, such as probate, estate taxes, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax, establishing a base fair market value used for the property's potential future sale. These appraisals are indispensable in ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of assets, safeguarding your interests.

The appraiser will have professional-grade access to historical market statistics, construction data, the cost to build, and comparable sales records. These factors provide a rough range for the value of each property in general. More information is necessary to hone in on an accurate valuation of the date of death. These include:

  • The owner’s official date of death on the death certificate. This gives the appraiser the date and timeframe for researching market conditions.

  • Your availability for conducting the appraisal. Both the interior and exterior of all the decedent’s properties must be inspected.

  • Any records that count help authenticate the property’s condition around the date of death, such as deeds, inspection reports, leases, rent rolls, income statements, or photographs. Some of these reports will be publicly accessible, but it’s easier for the appraiser if you consolidate all of the material that exists to your known knowledge.

  • Any modifications to the estate since the date of death. Ideally, the properties are preserved with pending scheduled changes for after the estate is officially settled. The appraisal of the properties needs to be performed for the conditions on the date of death. Any alteration changes the property’s state at the date of death, adding complexities for arriving at an accurate value calculation. Furthermore, the risk of contestation lingers until the estate is officially settled. For example, the appraisal value could be contested by one party involved or rejected by the court altogether. It is safest to preserve all properties until the estate is settled.

  • The deadline for the estate planning appraisal. Retrospective appraisals could be niche expertise in your county, and the appraiser could be flooded with requests. Get ahead of their workload and set a deadline for your appraisal.

  • Your attorney or CPA’s contact information to deliver the estate planning appraisal or even have your appraiser coordinate with these legal professionals directly on your behalf.


When should a date of death appraisal be done, and what is its purpose? Date of death appraisals should be conducted within six months following the date of death. These appraisals serve to determine the fair market value of real estate at the owner's date of death, proving essential for estate settlement, both within and outside of probate.

What does FMV on a date of death appraisal mean? FMV stands for Fair Market Value, representing the price at which the property would sell on the open market, agreed upon by a willing buyer and seller with relevant knowledge.

How long does it take to complete a date of death appraisal? Typically, date of death appraisals require the same amount of time as standard appraisals, usually between 1 to 2 weeks.

Do I need a date of death appraisal? If you are an estate administrator or involved in estate settlement, a date of death appraisal is likely needed for various purposes, including probate, taxes, and estate planning.

In settling estate appraisals, time is often of the essence. Initiating the appraisal process as soon as possible is crucial to ensure timely, comprehensive results that align with your needs. Count on me to be the reliable and understanding appraiser for settling estate appraisals.


Contact Me Today and Get Speedy Results

Reach out to me, and I'll personally get in touch with you without delay. You can also go ahead and request your appraisal now. I'm eager to connect with you!

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