Why is it Important to Include a Personal Property Appraiser on your Wealth Management Team

Jean O'Brien discusses the benefits of having a Personal Property Appraiser on your wealth management team.

When should financial advisers, such as Wealth Managers, Bankers and Trust Officers, Tax Advisers or Attorneys call in a Personal Property Appraiser to work with their clients? Why do clients need appraisals when they want to have financial advice? To answer these questions, one only has to ask: “How can I help my clients to effectively plan their financial future, if they don’t know what all they own and how much it’s worth?”

As financial professionals know, clients have wide-ranging needs relating to personal property ownership, and the services that appraisers provide can establish a solid foundation and basis of value so that one can advise and help a client manage their assets.There are many situations when working with a qualified professional appraiser is a necessity, such as when deciding about scheduling for Insurance, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Equitable Distribution of Property, Estate Taxes, Gift Tax, Charitable Contributions, Damage Claims and Litigation for any reason.

Unlike major art collectors, the majority of clients inherit or collect bits and pieces for years, but are often unaware of what they own, or the current value. Contacting an appraiser to do an inventory and detailed
appraisal is the first step. An appraisal report is a legal document and one as important as a will. Frequently having an appraisal done will be the first time that a client’s property will have been accurately identified, described and valued for any purpose, and has proven particularly important for the recovery of items in the case of theft. Often a client’s personal property will be of greater value than their residence, and by having an appraisal to review, advisers are able to help clients make informed decisions and plan ahead. Once an
adviser has the necessary value information about the client’s property, they can make sure that there are no surprises and help them avoid potential problems with heirs or make choices that might keep them from reaching their financial goals.

Although laws may differ according to country, it is particularly important for financial advisers to work with a professional, accredited appraiser who has no vested interest in the property to be appraised.

Whether it involves fine art, a particular collection or the accumulated valuables in their residences, an appraisal report, if properly prepared by a qualified professional appraiser, will provide a defensible value at
a particular given time. A proper appraisal report should be prepared by an independent, accredited professional appraiser, who belongs to one of the major recognized appraisal organizations and is compliant with USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) which are the quality control standards for all appraisals performed in the United States and its territories. The report should be presented in a cohesive,
logical, readable manner and should provide a client with evaluations and analyses of their tangible assets. In this respect, appraisals are particularly applicable and necessary for wealth managers, trust & estate practices, the insurance industry, and to collectors.

Although laws may differ according to country, it is particularly important for financial advisers to work with a professional, accredited appraiser who has no vested interest in the property to be appraised. This will ensure that the value conclusion is independent, accurate and will clarify questions of value under any circumstances. Not only do national taxation services, but also museums, institutions, businesses, insurance companies
and collectors all require appraisal reports that are objective, true and independent of auction houses, dealers and other collectors.

Recent hurricanes, fire disasters, earthquakes and tsunami around the world spotlight how financial advisers and insurance companies working together with appraisers/valuers can help their clients to be prepared for and begin to recover from such natural disasters.

Therefore it would be prudent for those working in a financial advisory capacity to always consider working with a qualified professional appraiser, to ensure that they have all the facts needed to advise their clients on how best to prepare for the future.


About Jean O’Brien:

Jean O’Brien, Principal of JA O’Brien Associates, is an Accredited Senior Member of the American Society of Appraisers with over 30 years of experience appraising a broad range of Fine Art, Decorative Arts and Antiques. Her background includes degrees in Studio Art and Art History, ASA professional appraisal training, and over two years at Christie’s International Auction House Education Division in London, where she earned two diplomas from the Royal Society of Art.

Contact details:

Jean A. OBrien, ASA
Principal, J.A. OBrien Associates, LLC
4817 West 69th Street
Prairie Village, Kansas 66208, USA

Telephone: 913 722 2460
913 787 1926

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