One role of a fiduciary of an estate in Maryland is to secure all the property of the estate and value it. This should be done in as timely a fashion as possible. But how does a fiduciary go about valuing an estate?
A lot depends on what type of asset is being valued. For example, brokerage accounts can be made accessible relatively quickly so long as the fiduciary meets all the necessary prerequisites. This may include securing from the court a formal authorization and providing the court with a certificate of death.
However, the fiduciary may need to file a claim to secure other assets, including insurance accounts. It may benefit a fiduciary to enlist the help of a professional appraiser to help ascertain an accurate value of the property of the deceased. This includes appraising furniture, jewelry, motor vehicles, collections and artwork. By getting an accurate appraisal, it makes it easier for the fiduciary to report the value of the estate on tax returns, fill out a court-mandated inventory and ensure that the deceased's insurance policy covers the true value of the property. In addition, accounts such as securities accounts, stocks and bank accounts must also be valued.
Ascertaining the value of the deceased's estate is just one role of a fiduciary; there are others. Some examples of a fiduciary's other duties include taking care of any debts and other expenses of the estate, funding bequests, taking care of taxes and closing the estate. We will take a closer look at those rolls in future posts. This post is not to be considered a substitute for legal advice. Those with more questions about the valuation of assets should consider seeking professional help.