TRUST, ESTATE, LAW & TAXES
“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
People spend their lifetimes acquiring, growing and preserving assets. When the time comes to arrange for the safe and orderly transfer of one’s property, people have made the private trust the cornerstone of their wealth management strategy. They have used trusts as a means to distribute their assets in accordance with their personal goals and family needs, protect and preserve their assets, ensure the well-being of the family and share their wealth.
Aside from cash assets, it is extremely important to determine how family heirlooms are to be distributed amongst the heirs. Without a written trust, items such as jewelry, silver flatware, wedding china and other similar items is frequently the subject of disputes among siblings after their parents pass away. Placing these items in a trust often eliminates undue emotional strains on the family. When funding the trust, the market value of the jewelry items is used to determine the value of the items, and to establish an accurate basis of value when the trust is established.
“He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.”
With our years of experience, we know that jewelry and other items of value can sometimes become objects of dispute. Whether your situation involves a buyer or seller, an estate or divorce settlement, or other legal situations; the services of a professional jewelry appraiser/forensic gemologist may be required for appraisal services, litigation support or expert witness testimony. New England Gem Appraisals, LLC has the expertise to offer unbiased opinions of value, helping the court to reach an equitable decision. Engaging New England Gem Appraisals, LLC before depositions can often expedite an out-of-court settlement.
Forensic gemology can be especially important in cases involving diamonds, colored gemstones, watches, coins and fine jewelry. Sometimes, litigation involves jewelry that has been lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed. Such items cannot be examined in their original condition, and often, items cannot be examined at all. In these cases, court decisions are in large part based on expert testimony provided in depositions. New England Gem Appraisals, LLC can help attorneys in preparing to depose witnesses, which can assist in obtaining accurate descriptions of the disputed items.
With years of experience in appraising, New England Gem Appraisals, LLC takes great care in researching and determining the accurate value of disputed items. Your appraisal report will be admissible in court and will include detailed descriptions, appropriate value determinations, and digital photographs (when possible). The appraisal will conform to the standards set forth by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) as well as the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). In compliance with Federal law, we maintain complete confidentiality with regard to your appraisal and our client records.
“You know why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it.”
Let’s face it; going through a divorce is an emotionally challenging time for everyone. It involves many difficult decisions about the kids, investments, and marital assets, including the value of your jewelry and other family heirlooms. When you divorce, an appraisal of property held by one or both partners is often necessary to determine the value of the assets that will be divided as part of your divorce property settlement.
An appraisal of your jewelry, watches, silver flatware, and coin collections will ensure an accurate assessment and valuation of the items. The appraisal provides detailed descriptions, accurate grades and measurements, digital photographs and the valuation appropriate to the requirements of the jurisdiction in which the divorce was filed. It is a “self-contained” type of appraisal, which means all information used to establish value is contained within the appraisal. Usually “Market Value” or “Fair Market Value” is used, but occasionally there may be other specific local legal requirements.
“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
~ Albert Einstein
At some point, everyone will pay taxes, and needing an appraisal on items of value may be part of the process.
Appraisals prepared for the IRS require specific methodology, careful research, as well as detailed descriptions, qualitative analysis, and digital images. The IRS has very specific requirements for the reporting format, definitions of what is a “Qualified Appraisal” and who is a “Qualified Appraiser”.
The IRS defines a qualified appraisal as document that is prepared by a qualified appraiser in accordance with the substance and principles of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
A qualified appraiser is an individual who has verifiable education and experience in valuing the relevant type of property for which the appraisal is performed. The relevant type of property means the category of property customary in the appraisal field for an appraiser to value. The IRS considers jewelry and gems of such a specialized nature that it is almost always necessary to get an appraisal by a specialized jewelry appraiser (IRS Publication 561).
There are five basic types of appraisal reports that are prepared for tax purposes; Estate Tax Liability, Non-Cash Charitable Contribution, Gift Tax Liability, Casualty Loss, and Bankruptcy. In each case, the specific definition of Fair Market Value is different as well as the market research required to produce the appraisal report. We prepare each appraisal in a “self-contained” format to the applicable level as required by the Department of the Treasury Revenue Procedures.
Estate Tax Liability
Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death. If the total value of your estate is larger than the Federal and/or State exemption amount, your estate will owe taxes. Federal estate tax exemption amounts vary from year to year, as well as from state to state.
According to some experts, the years between 2007 and 2026 will see almost $15 trillion transferred from one generation to another. Many estates will need appraisals prepared for Federal and/or State Estate tax returns based on the Fair Market Value of the items. The specific definition of Fair Market Value as determined by the IRS regulations is used for these appraisals [26 CFR, section 20.2031-1(b)].
This appraisal is written in a self-contained narrative meaning all information used to establish value is contained within the appraisal. The appraisal provides complete documentation of all our findings, detailed descriptions, accurate grades and measurements, digital photographs and the valuations appropriate to the requirements of the IRS and State taxing authorities.
Non-Cash Charitable Contribution
If you donate property to a non-profit organization, you need to determine how much it is worth when you donate it. In certain circumstances, an appraisal may be required when taking an income tax deduction for a charitable contribution of an item, other than cash. Even if not required, it is often advisable to preclude any potential value over-estimation of an item you wish to donate. Many people inadvertently use an insurance replacement valuation when determining the amount of the deduction. This can be a very costly error that subjects the donor to tax penalties and interest since the retail value of an item new is often much higher than the Fair Market Value of the pre-owned item being donated.
These appraisals are written in a self-contained narrative meaning all information used to establish value is contained within the appraisal. The appraisal provides detailed descriptions, accurate grades and measurements, digital photographs and the valuations according to the specific definition of Fair Market Value as determined by [26 CFR section 1.170A-1(c)(2)].
When non-cash gifts are made, an appraisal can help determine if the value exceeds the amount that can be transferred without tax liability. It can also establish a “basis” for future tax functions such as Capital Gains determination. If the gift is taxable, the appraisal will help in the determination of the tax owed.
These appraisals are written in a self-contained narrative meaning all information used to establish value is contained within the appraisal. The appraisal provides detailed descriptions, accurate grades and measurements, digital photographs and the valuations according to the specific definition of Fair Market Value as determined by [26 CFR section 25.2512-1].
Every year in the United States, a number of natural disasters affect people lives. In general, a deduction on your income tax is allowed for a loss sustained if the loss arises from storm, flood, fire, or other casualty. Under certain circumstances, a casualty loss of personal property may qualify for an income tax deduction.
This type of appraisal requires a determination of the value at the time of acquisition, immediately prior to the loss and the value immediately after the loss. Fair Market Value is used in each of these instances to arrive at the amount that may qualify for the tax deduction. These appraisals are written in a self-contained narrative meaning all information used to establish value is contained within the appraisal. These appraisals are complex and time consuming, but necessary if a tax deduction for a casualty loss is filed using Form 4684.
Bankruptcy is a legal procedure designed to both protect an individual or business that cannot meet its financial obligations and to protect the creditors involved. When you file bankruptcy, you are required to disclose and “value” all of your personal property assets. In order to obtain an accurate value of all an individual or business personal property involved, an appraisal may be necessary. Generally, your Trustee will determine if an appraisal is necessary. This type of an appraisal report will comply with the Federal requirements for bankruptcy the specific markets and values required to be researched and reported in a self-contained appraisal report format.
“Well done is better than well said.”
Why Choose New England Gem Appraisals, LLC?
At New England Gem Appraisals, LLC we know that choosing the right jewelry appraiser can make all the difference to you and your family. You can be assured that your appraisal will be evaluated with complete confidentiality, care and accuracy. Every appraisal report from New England Gem Appraisals, LLC is well researched and documented, and conforms to the standards set forth by the American Association of Appraisers (ASA), the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA), as well as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Our appraisals and confidential consultations adhere to the highest ethical standards within our industry.
New England Gem Appraisals, LLC is committed to providing world class services with personal attention, sensitivity and confidentiality for our clientele.