Eight Rules to Avoid Loss to Estate Personal Property from Commonly Made Mistakes
Eight Rules to Avoid Loss to Estate Personal Property from Commonly Made Mistakes  Bosch Appraisal & Estate Services’ mission is to educate estate professionals, trustees and heirs of the importance of estate personal property. We suggest calling a qualified appraiser of personal property as the first thing to do when assigned with the important task of settling an estate. If there are antique furniture items, oil paintings, works on paper, antiques, fine china, collectible porcelains, art glass, sterling silver, oriental rugs, leather bound books, jewelry, collectibles and other appreciating property in the residence of the deceased, the accumulative total can be considerable.On average an ordinary home contains approximately $10,000 worth of personal property. A more upscale home with fine art, antiques, fine china, silver and other appreciating personal property often contains upwards from $60,000 – $250,000 worth of goods. Several good paintings alone can total $100,000. We at Bosch Appraisal and Estate Services seek to educate the general public and estate professionals to give estate personal property the attention it deserves.Rule Number One: Call an independent appraiser to identify valuable items of personal property before you do anything else.Do not throw anything away, sell or distribute anything until this has been done. Be certain the appraiser is a member of an appraisal society that tests its members and holds them to a Code of Ethics.Rule Number Two: Do not sell an item to the person who has set its value.An appraiser should not offer to buy anything that they appraise, for to do so is a conflict of your best interest.

Rule Number Three: At the time of death change the locks on every door.

Only those persons who are completely trustworthy should be given a key. No person should ever have access to the personal property alone, including the safety deposit box. They should always be accompanied. The sense of entitlement that heirs often experience at the time of death of a parent, especially when there is family strife and disagreement, can easily overwhelm their sense of right and wrong. Pilfering can go on for a long time before it is discovered. We have had clients tell us of siblings pilfering items from the household as their mother lay dying in the next room.

Rule Number Four: Write down exactly who you want to receive what items, and include this list as part of your will or your family trust.

Do not leave the disposition of personal items to chance. Be direct and specific. Be certain everyone involved knows exactly who is getting what items prior to your death.

We have personally watched two sisters fighting to the bitter end each holding one diamond earring and wanting the other. This does not just happen with family members. We have seen bank trustees, church friends, caretakers and taxidrivers set aside or take plum items for themselves, somehow thinking these estate items no longer belong to anyone and are free for the taking.

Rule Number Five: If you have valuable items of personal property have a written appraisal done prior to your death.

Give a copy to every heir so that everyone knows the value of items in the household and one person cannot take advantage of the others’ ignorance.

On another appraisal assignment, we found china and other items shown in photos from a previous appraisal were missing, along with a valuable set of sterling silver flatware. It was later determined that a certain heir systematically removed one valuable item at a time from the home each time she visited her terminally ill stepfather. While other heirs were busy caring for him, she had taken an estimated $7,000. worth of goods, some of which had been left in the will to others.

Rule Number Six: Keep a list for your trustee and heirs of exactly where valuable and important items are kept.

Bosch Appraisal finds unidentified valuable items and cash stashed in very odd places and containers. Check inside everything that leaves the house that is about to be thrown out, donated to charity, sold in a “buy out” or given away. We recently located a KPM porcelain plaque which was hidden in the linen closet wrapped in towels which were headed for charity which sold for $3,000. Another estate liquidator reports finding $10,000. in a paper matchbox located under a bed.

Rule Number Seven: Do not underestimate the cumulative value of a lifetime accumulation of personal property or sell it to a “buy out” dealer just to get rid of it.

When escrow on the house is near to closing, a “buy out” dealer can make a killing. A buy-out dealer is someone who buys and hauls away an entire household, usually for very little money. They can be a desirable option when the entire house must be cleared quickly, but first everything of value should be identified and removed. We have been called at the last minute by a client who was negotiating the sale of an entire household to a “buy out” dealer because they needed to empty the house. This dealer was practically drooling over specific items while at the same time offering a mere $2,000 for the entire lot. Fortunately, our clients became suspicious. Within that estate we identified an Aurene Art Glass Lamp, alone worth $2,700 amongst other estate items totaling $28,000.

Rule Number Eight: Do not assume your trustee or heirs will automatically know what is valuable and what is not.

You might not know that something you received as a wedding gift fifty years ago is now a prize collectible. If you don’t know the value of your personal items, how will your heirs know the value when you are gone?

There is much, much more to learn. There are specific situations when you will need a written fair market value appraisal for estate tax or equitable distribution amongst heirs. Other times you may simply need a one hour verbal consultation onsite. Or you may wish to hire us to
conduct an onsite estate sale. There is only one time to settle an estate and the learning curve is high. We specialize in helping you through this process with ease.

You are always welcome to call us here at Bosch Appraisal and Estate Services. Our number is 707-773-3970. Call us first before you make any important decisions in regard to estate personal property. We offer a free one half hour telephone consultation in regard to your specific situation with no obligation. We look forward to hearing from you now or in the future.

“Call a Qualified Personal Property Appraiser First, When Settling an Estate”


When Do You Need An Estate Appraisal
When Do You Need An Estate Appraisal  

Understanding Estate Tax, Reporting to the IRS, Appraisals for Equitable Division of Property and the Definition of Fair Market Value”An estate appraisal is one may be used to report the value of a decedent’s estate according to IRS form 706 (US Estate and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Return). It is part of the overall value of the financial affairs of someone who has died in the United states and whose estate may or may not be taxed.The executor of an estate must file a Federal estate tax return if the value of the gross estate at the date of death exceeds the allowed unified credit exemption equivalent which is set at $5,340,000. for 2014. Please check with your CPA or Tax Attorney to find out if your particular estate situation warrants having an estate tax appraisal conducted.There are many benefits to having an estate appraisal conducted as of the time of death, even if you do not owe estate tax. A qualified appraisal tells the IRS what is in the estate and also what is NOT in the estate. An estate appraisal at FMV can be a valuable document for the executor and, assurance that the executor has done their “due diligence.”

An estate appraisal can also be an insurance policy against future action, especially when there is discord amongst heirs or family members.A main reason for an estate appraisal is to have a complete record of all property that is transferring to the heirs and to be able to divide that property equitably amongst them. This affords complete impartiality and fairness which has many rewards for years to come.

Http://,,id=164871,00.html is a link for complete information. Bosch Appraisal does not advise our clients in this regard. Please contact your certified accountant or probate attorney to attain information specific to your estate’s situation. Federal estate tax applies to the transfer of property at death. The estate of a person who died (the decedent) is liable for the tax on the entire taxable estate including all property, real and personal, tangible and intangible, wherever situated.Generally, the value of the decedent’s property interest for estate tax purposes is the Fair Market Value determined on the date of death. Section 2032 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provides an alternate valuation date which is six months after the date of death. If the alternate valuation date is elected, any property distributed, sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of within six months after the date of death must be valued as of the date of disposition. The purpose of this election is to provide tax relief for estates that experience a decline in value shortly after death. The alternate date election is only allowed if it decreases the value of the gross estate and the net estate tax liability.FEDERAL ESTATE TAX – REPORTING TO THE IRS

The value of the decedent’s estate is reported on Form 706 (U. S. Estate and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Return). Form 706 records a “snapshot” of the net financial affairs of the decedent, i. e. it is a freeze in time of the value of the estate. Form 706 must be filed if the decedent’s gross estate exceeds the unified credit exemption equivalent. If the value of the estate is less than the exemption equivalency, the estate may still file Form 706.

This is commonly done to establish a new basis for the property and/or to start the tolling of the three year statute of limitations for the IRS challenging the estate. Establishing a “stepped-up” basis may reduce the transferee’s capital gains tax in the event the property is subsequently sold. Form 706 records personal property on Schedule F – Miscellaneous Property (ILL-29).

Form 706 and Treasury Regulation Section 20.2031-6 (see ILL-30) governs issues relating to the valuation of household and personal effects for estate tax purposes and state that:

1. A room by room itemization of household and personal effects is desirable.
2. All articles should be named specifically. Items contained in the same room and each of which is valued at $100 or less apiece may be grouped.
3. If the decedent owned at the date of death, articles with artistic or intrinsic value (i. e. jewelry, silverware, books, statuary, vases, oriental rugs, coin or stamp collections, appreciating antiques etc.) and if any one article is valued at more than $3,000. or any collection of similar articles is valued at more than $10,000, then an appraisal by a qualified appraiser is required to be submitted along with the appraiser’s qualifications. (Form 706) (See ILL-29)
We include comparables within our reports for individual items valued at $3,000. or above or any collection of similar articles valued at more than $10,000. to satisfy new requirements according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.


The term “collection” means a gathering of similar items of like artistic or intrinsic characteristics. There is sometimes confusion as to what constitutes a “collection.” If an item is “artistic or has a collectible value,” (i. e. jewelry, silverware, books, statuary, vases, oriental rugs, coin or stamp collections, appreciating antiques etc.) and one singular item is valued at over $3,000., that item will need to be listed on the estate asset list with an accompanying appraisal. In addition, a group or “collection” of items that together total over $10,000. need an appraisal, whether they are a mixed group of oil paintings by various artists or a set of paintings by the same artist, both are considered to be “collections” by the IRS, if together they total over $10,000.


The legal definition of Fair Market Value as defined by IRS Regulation Section 1.170A-1(c)(2) defines Fair Market Value (FMV) as “the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”

You will notice the definition says, “price at which property ‘would’ change hands between a buyer and a seller.” The concept of Fair Market Value is hypothetical and is used when property is not being sold but ownership of the property is changing and the property needs to be assigned a value at the time of transfer. FMV Appraisals are used for reporting estate tax to the IRS, for equitable division of personal property to heirs of an estate, for the establishment of a trust, for equitable division of property in a divorce and for non-cash charitable donations of personal property. Items being appraised for FMV are compared by the appraiser to recent sales of similar items sold in the market in which these items are most commonly sold to the general public.

The concept of fair market value assumes that a reasonable time is available in which the transaction can occur. Allowances are made for such necessities as transporting, cleaning, repair, advertising, and conducting of the sale. Reasonable time is of sufficient duration that the seller is not under compulsion to sell, i.e. the sale is not considered as being under distress.


Treasury Regulation Section 20.2031-1 provides that property in the decedent’s estate that is normally obtained by the public in a retail market (as opposed to a wholesale or liquidation market), fair market value is the price at which a comparable item would be sold at retail. Section 3 of Revenue Procedure 65-19 (see ILL-32) specifically addresses the issue of items commonly sold at auction or through classified advertisements:

“Where there is a bona fide sale of tangible personal property as a result of an advertisement in the classified section of a newspaper and the property is of the type often sold by owners by such means, or there is a bona fide sale of an items of tangible personal property at public auction, the price for which it is sold will be presumed to be the retail sales price of the item at the time of sale.”

For estate tax purposes, if the decedent’s property is sold at public auction or through classified ads the resulting prices realized are acceptable as fair market values providing the sale is completed within a reasonable time and assuming that no dramatic change in the market occurs between the effective date of the appraisal and the date of sale. Section 3 of the Revenue Procedure 65-19 states:

“Such retail sales price also will be presumed to be the retail sales price of the item on the applicable valuation date if the sale is made within a reasonable period following the applicable valuation date and there is no substantial change in the market conditions or other circumstances affected the value of similar items between the time of the sale and the applicable valuation date.”

IRS Pub 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators
IRS Form 706 United States Estate Tax Return (ILL-29)
Revenue Procedure 65-19, Classifieds and Auctions as Sources for Retail Sales Prices
Revenue Procedure 66-49, Appraisal Guidelines and Formats
Treasury Regulation Section 20.2031-1, Definition of Gross Estate
Treasury Regulation Section 20-2031-6 Valuation of Household and Personal Effects
Certain excerpts used with permission from the International Society of Appraisers from their Appraiser’s Core Course Federal Estate Tax Appraisals Update, 2002

What Is It and What Is It Worth?
What Is It and What Is It Worth? You must know the answers to these two important questions before you short-sell or distribute anything in an Estate. Imagine you are our client who is scheduled to sell your estate to a buy out dealer for $2,000. Fortunately, you give Bosch Appraisal a call and discover the estate’s real value. Would you believe your estate appraises at $28,000.? In this particular estate we had a Steuben Aurene Art Glass Table Lamp, C. 1904, H 16” that alone appraised for $2,700.

You obviously have an interest in maximizing the return on your estate sale of inherited items. Or you may be in charge of distributing estate personal property fairly amongst the heirs. You probably have lots of questions like, “How do I know the value of each item in this estate?” and “How do I make the correct decisions about selling my things?” This true story of the experience of one of our very happy clients is just one example of how you can prevent loss to your estate personal property by calling Bosch Appraisal first.

Instead of being perplexed with questions, you can get the answers you need right now. There is much to know when you are in charge of distributing personal property in an estate. The learning curve is high. You can avoid commonly made costly mistakes by calling Bosch Appraisal & Estates Services before you make any important decisions regarding estate personal property. Take advantage of our FREE 30-Minute telephone consultation to discuss your specific situation with no obligation whatsoever. Since this is our job and we love doing it, call us at 707-773-3970. We are always delighted to of service.

Charitable Contribution Appraisals
Charitable Contribution Appraisals “What you need to know…..about the term Fair Market Value and IRS Form 8283.”Fair Market Value is defined by the Internal Revenue Service for donation purposes as “the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing selller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of revelant facts.” Notice that the above definition states “the price at which property WOULD change hands”. Fair Market Value is a hypothetical value used in appraisals for property that is not sold but changes ownership by transfer of property through inheritance or donation to charity.Because the item has not actually sold, a hypothetical value must be placed upon the item that is being donated in order for a tax deduction to be taken by the donor. If the item or items you have donated during the year total $500.00 you must fill out IRS Form 8283.Items totaling over $500. which are depreciating household items or used clothing in poor condition and are being claimed for a deduction must now have an appraisal. In addition, appraisers must include a paragraph in their appraisal report about their qualifications and knowledge of requirements and penalties. This is according to the Federal Functions /Pension Protection Act of 2006.For art and antique donations that total from $500. to $5,000., you must complete Section A on your Form 8283 and include this form as part of your tax return.If your donated items total over $5,000., you will need to complete Section B which is for items or groups of similar items whose Fair Market Value has been established at $5,000. or more. You must have an appraisal by a qualified appraiser conducted, but it does not need to be attached to the tax return. You keep the appraisal with your supporting tax documents. The appraiser must sign Form 8283, as well as the representative of the charitable organization (donee) to which the item has been donated.For Fair Market Value donations of a item or similar items that total $20,000. or more in value you must attach a copy of the appraisal report to Form 8283 and your tax return. Items in this value range are usually valuable works of art, appreciating antiques, or expensive cars and boats. Occasionally, we have conducted appraisals of an entire estate that has been donated, in which case the total has been over $20,000.

Bosch Appraisal and Estate Services does not offer tax advice. We recommend that you always refer to your CPA or tax accountant to determine your exact appraisal needs whenever you are donating over $500.00 to charity in any given year. Be certain to keep all receipts in order to support the value you take as a write off.

Equitable Division of Personal Property in an Estate
Equitable Division of Personal Property in an Estate  “How to Divide Personal Property Fairly Amongst Heirs”One of the most difficult and emotional processes of settling an estate is the fair division of the personal property of the deceased amongst heirs. Our experience is that there are usually many different scenarios happening all at once. Trustees and executors are left needing to sort through the personal lifetime accumulation of belongings of a recently deceased loved one. Trustees and heirs need to find a way to divide property fairly. Usually this is the first time the Trustee and heirs have ever had to do this. Several heirs can want and fight over the same valuable item. The item heirs “think” might be valuable, is not valuable at all. A valuable item has been left to one heir, and no one knows how to equalize what is left to the rest of the heirs. Some items are highly desired by some heirs and have no value except sentimental. Nobody knows what is worth what amount, or whether Grandma’s teacup is valuable or not. There is so much personal property that this in addition to the recent loss of a loved one, becomes a daunting task for the Trustee or Executor.Family relationships are at stake. Perceived unfairness at the time of distribution of property can result in many years of family strife. How is one to accomplish this overwhelming task in an orderly, cohesive and equitable manner?At Bosch Appraisal & Estate Services, we are professional appraisers who have developed a simple method to guide Trustees and Executors to achieve the equitable distribution of personal family belongings. Our method is fair to every person involved. We save Executors and Trustees and Heirs hours of strife and grief at a most difficult time in their lives. This is accomplished by our instructing you how to put our plan into action. We teach you to do this process right the first time. You will not have to learn the “hard” way or look back on mistakes you wish for the rest of your life that you had not made. We also conduct the distribution and oversee the distribution of property to heirs for you, if you prefer.Our services are provided at our hourly rate of $225.00 per hour. An appraisal may be necessary on appreciating antique and fine art items….but is not usually necessary for ordinary household items of a non-appreciating nature.We also provide a free 1/2 hour consultation over the telephone at which time we will discuss with you your particular set of circumstances and the solutions we provide. There is no obligation to hire us, but we are certain that you will after we outline our simple procedures for you. Let our experience guide you through one of the most difficult of life’s experiences. That of the complete distribution and liquidation of a family member’s home.We serve the San Francisco Bay Area and can be reached at 707-773-3970. Visit our web site at or e-mail us at for further information.