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Getting an Appraisal for Estate or Probate: An Interview with Sandra Uyeunten of Dolphin Home Appraisals

By Sandra Uyeunten

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Dolphin Home Appraisals has been taking care of San Diego County since 2003. We appraise single family residence, condominiums and multi-unit properties. We work with lenders as well as attorneys for estate trust, probate, bankruptcy and divorces.

What are some common reasons that an appraisal is ordered for estate or probate purposes?

Some common reasons that an appraisal may be needed for estate trust or probate would be to determine the fair market value of the real property in your estate as of the date of death. Also, the probate court needs to know the cash value of the estate, prior to distribution of the assets.

What are a few of the benefits of getting a home appraisal for estate or probate purposes?

Benefits of getting a home appraisal for estate or probate purposes would be that the professional appraiser is familiar with the type of property and its value in the given industry.

Are there any relevant laws or practices in California when it comes to these types of home appraisals?

Some of the relevant laws, per California probate code; (1) The real property has been appraised within one year prior to the date of confirmation hearing. (2) The valuation date used in the appraisal is within one year prior to the confirmation hearing. (3) Court is satisfied that the latest appraisal is not too high or too low.

Can you briefly talk about about low versus high values?

Executors and homeowners often ask for the value to be kept low to minimize estate taxes. But for the attorneys I work with, there is a trade off of a higher tax basis. Taxable gain, if and when it is sold, is a lot higher if appraised too low. Most homeowners, if not advised correctly are surprised later when they sell the property.

What is a retrospective appraisal and when are they typically used?

Retrospective appraisals are needed due to the fact that for estate trust and probate courts needs the fair market value as of date of death. Appraisals are done as close to the date as possible therefore more accurate and reliable than those completed later.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

The best way to contact Dolphin Home Appraisals would be to call me directly at 858-829-3208.

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