Appraisals can protect your valuble assets
Given the current economic situation, it is clear that maximizing personal assets is important.
The American Society of Appraisers suggests that people take the opportunity at the beginning of the new year to resolve to document and assess personal assets.
"The contents of most peoples' homes are worth tens of thousands of dollars and they don't even realize it," said Sharon Ring Rollins, chair of the personal property committee of the American Society of Appraisers.
When people count up their assets, they normally include the value of their home and other real estate, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, etc. What many people forget, however, is that their personal assets include the contents of their home including artwork, antiques, jewelry, collectibles, etc.
The value of those items needs to be considered for estate planning purposes, to ensure that they are properly covered by their homeowners or renters insurance policies in case of a loss, and for sale or charitable donation purposes.
The American Society of Appraisers offers tips for homeowners or renters to get started reviewing their personal assets.
Documentation: Take an inventory of the items in your house. Open cabinets and closets and document the contents with video or photos. Make lists of what you own, where you got each item, etc., and keep receipts.
Make note of potentially valuable items: Make a list of items that you think might be especially valuable, including family heirlooms, artwork and antique furniture.
Get an appraisal of valuable items: If you think you have valuable items and want to know more about their value, consult an accredited appraiser.
Review your homeowners or renters policies: These policies have a certain coverage amount for the contents of your home. Do a rough calculation of the value of the contents of your home if you had to replace everything. Does the amount in your current policy cover it? If not, talk to your insurance agent about raising the limit or get special riders for extremely valuable items.
Owning a few pieces of fine art or a few good antiques may mean that the coverage in your policy is less than adequate.
"Appraisals are important documents, like wills. They provide proof of the worth of a piece of property," said Rollins. "An appraisal performed by an accredited appraiser will stand up in court, with the IRS, or the insurance company if need be."
ASA is an international organization of appraisal professionals and others dedicated to the education, development and growth of the appraisal profession. ASA is the oldest and only major organization representing all disciplines of appraisal specialists, originating in 1936 and incorporating in 1952. ASA's headquarters is in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.