On October 31, 2015

When calculating the value of an estate, here are the primary assets to focus on, a Denver estate planning attorney reveals.

When calculating the value of an estate, here are the primary assets to focus on, a Denver estate planning attorney reveals.

Figuring out the value of an estate can be important to understanding:

  • Whether that estate will have to pass through probate (as estates valued at less than a certain amount do not generally have to be probated in Colorado)
  • Whether grantors may want to put some special estate planning features, like trusts, in place now
  • The future estate tax obligations for an estate.

Although the valuation process for estates can be complicated, especially when estates are larger and/or they include assets in different states or countries, in general, the following will be the primary assets of an estate to appraise/evaluate when calculating how much an estate is worth.

Assets to Include in Estate Valuations

  1. Cash assets, including monies held in bank accounts, CD accounts and retirement accounts – The amount of these assets that will be included in estate valuations will depend on whether the account(s) are jointly held, whether payable-on-death (POD) designations have been made and/or whether the POD beneficiary has rights of survivorship (or has contributed to the account). For instance, only half of the value of these cash assets will typically be included in estate valuations when these assets are held in joint accounts with a spouse who has rights of survivorship.
  2. Investments, including (but not limited to) stocks, bonds, and even partnerships in businesses – Again, whether these investments are jointly owned/held and whether the joint owner has rights of survivorship will impact what percentage of these assets are used in the estate valuation process.
  3. Real estate and motor vehicles – When this type of property was solely owned by a decedent, 100 percent of its value will be used to calculate the value of the estate. For jointly held real estate and/or vehicles, however, only half of the value of these assets will be used to determine the value of the estate.
  4. Personal property, such as jewelry, art, guns, electronics, antiques, etc. – Generally, the full value of these assets will be included in estate valuations, unless this property has been used to fund a trust (including trusts that may take effect upon death).
  5. Other interests and assets, which may include (but are by no means exclusive to) royalties, commissions, back wages, etc. – How these assets are counted in estate valuations will depend on the specific nature of the asset, as well as the estate plan left behind.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

For experienced help calculating the value of an estate – or dealing with any estate planning or probate issue, contact a trusted Denver estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC.

To schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers and find out more about how we can assist you, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Planning, Probate