When a person dies and his or her estate is to be transferred to the heir(s), the process of probate begins. The probate process includes various laws, one of which is the professional appraisal of real estate properties.
A property appraisal is required as part of the probate process. The reason is, real estate is considered a “non-cash” asset, so the cash value of the property must be determined before an estate can be transferred or divided equally among heirs.
Property appraisals are also a requirement of the federal government and some states. The appraisal determines the amount of federal and state-imposed estate taxes that are due.
How to Obtain the Appraisal
Under probate law, the estate administrator may be required to obtain a professional appraisal for all real estate properties prior to the transfer of an estate.
California has a unique system to help estate administrators obtain these types of appraisals at a modest fee, which is paid for by the estate. The system is known as the California Probate Referee System.
Before conducting the property appraisal, however, the estate administrator should speak with a probate law attorney who can help the family protect the assets until the transfer of the estate takes place.
To obtain a lawyer referral in San Diego County, please contact the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) for more information.