An appraisal may be needed to ascertain an accurate value of an asset in a divorce or estate matter. Assets that may require an appraisal include real property, jewelry, vehicles, antiques, and even retirement plans. Parties may elect to use one appraiser or have their own independent appraisers. When choosing an appraiser, it is important to make sure the appraiser is licensed or certified. A licensed appraiser has met the minimum requirements for practice. A certified appraiser must complete additional classroom hours and practice in the field. A list of all licensed and certified appraisers is available online. You should also make sure the appraiser you select has prior experience with the exact type of appraisal sought. This would include experience in the geographic market, the type of property, and intended use of the property.

You should discuss with the appraiser if any information you supply to them is confidential and should not be included in their report. You should also make it clear who the appraiser is permitted to discuss the appraisal with and/or share the report with. For example, you may not want to share certain information with the opposing party. You should be clear about the valuation date for the appraisal. This may be the date of purchase, date of separation, date of death, or current value. Per the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, appraisers are not permitted to revise an appraisal to account for a different valuation date after completion. Instead, the standards require a completely new appraisal which is not cost-efficient. Finally, you should ascertain whether your appraiser would be available as witness if their testimony in a court hearing becomes necessary. This is generally an additional cost above the cost of the appraisal itself.