Asset Value

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If the estate owner is still living, you can enter an asset's Value Pre-Death by clicking on its corresponding table cell in the Assets tab. This optional field is only used to provide an idea of likely valuation when the time eventually comes to record the death and begin the estate settlement process.

Once the estate owner has passed away, you can enter an asset's Value at Death by clicking on its corresponding table cell in the Assets tab (see Determining Value for help in establishing an asset's value).

EstateExec initially sets an asset's Value Now (the current value of the asset after the death) equal to its Value at Death. If you later edit an asset's Value at Death (perhaps to correct a mistake), the asset's Value Now will be automatically modified by the same amount.

Changes to Value

Depending on an asset's type, its value may change over time due to market fluctuations, explicit withdrawals or deposits, or even changes to the condition of the asset.

For the most part, EstateExec will automatically calculate an asset's Value Now based upon the Value at Death and any asset transactions you record (e.g., asset sale, transfer, distribution, withdrawal, deposit, etc.).

You can enter asset-related transactions on the Cashflow tab. You can also directly change an asset's Value Now by clicking on its Value Now table cell in the Assets tab. If you do change an asset's Value Now, it's best practice to explain why the value changed.

For example:

  • If the asset is a stock, perhaps the value changed because of a capital gains distribution (record as a Deposit of Category: Capital Gains)
  • If the asset is a bank account, perhaps the value changed because of a check you wrote to cover estate expenses (record as a Withdrawal of Category: Estate Expense)
  • If the asset is a home, perhaps the value changed because of changes in the housing market (rather than try to calculate the difference, you can simply record an Adjustment of Category: New Value)

If an asset is involved in multiple transactions,

  • The sequence of transactions is considered to occur in date order, and in order of Transaction ID (e.g., check number) when on the same date
  • Transactions of type Adjustment are considered to occur at the end of the day, with asset Sales on that day handled last (note that it is NOT necessary to create an Adjustment transaction before selling an asset for a different amount than its previously listed value)
  • However, the order in which you actually enter transactions can have an effect as well (for example, if you record a distribution with a date distributed, and then add an earlier transaction that changes the asset's value, EstateExec will not automatically change the amount distributed, since in the real world a check may have been issued for the original amount ... this is something you will have to manually update as needed).

Automatic Carry Value Calculations

A few jurisdictions (such as California and Virginia) require an accounting report that also tracks Carry Value (in addition to the market values discussed above). For such reports, EstateExec will automatically calculate carry value based on the information you have already entered; all you need do is enter a Received Date for each asset not reported in the initial Inventory (see Carry Value Accounting Report).

Saving Time

Note that for the purposes of estate accounting and administration, it is usually unnecessary to record every little fluctuation in Value Now:

  • You really only need the Value at Death, and the Value Now at the time of settlement (i.e., distribution, sale, disposal, transfer).
  • For example, you might want to lump all the interest deposits from a savings account into a single entry, or all changes in a brokerage account into a single capital gains entry
  • However, you should definitely record any transaction you initiate, and be aware that some probate judges may want to see everything
  • You will also need to ensure values are up-to-date if you generate an interim accounting report for a specified period, or if you are tracking carry values and receive a late asset
  • You may also need to deal with more detailed accounting when separately filing estate income taxes
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