T.E. Faravelli & Associates

What is an appraisal? How is it used?
A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of the true (or fair market) value of what a home is worth. All lenders order an appraisal during the mortgage loan process so that there is an objective way to assess the home's market value and ensure that the amount of money requested by the borrower is appropriate.
The appraisal can include recent sales information for similar properties, the current condition of the property, and the location of the property, i.e., insight as to how the neighborhood impacts the property’s value.

Who is A Probate Referee?
Probate Referees are appointed by the State Controller after passing a comprehensive examination. Each Probate Referee serves a specific county for a term not exceeding four years. Probate Referees are officers  of the court, but are not employees of the State of California. Referees cost the taxpayers nothing, as their fees are paid by the estates (Trusts)involved. In court matters, such as probates, conservatorships, and guardianships the court designates the Probate Referee usually by impartial rotation. In the case of trusts or nonprobate procedures, the trustee or estate representative may select the Probate Referee.
What Does The Probate Referee Do?
The Probate Referee appraises all property in the estate, except for “cash” type items. It is the responsibility of the personal representative or trustee to provide the Probate Referee with the list of property items to be appraised (the Inventory and Appraisal). The Inventory and Appraisal must be filed  with the Court no later than four months after the court issuesLetters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. In conservatorships, the Inventory and Appraisal must be filed within 90 days after the appointment of the Conservator. After receipt of the Inventory, the Referee is required to complete the appraisals within 60 days, return the Inventory to the personal representative, or report to the court the reason for the delay. In non-probate and trust cases, there is no specific time deadline, and the Probate Referee can appraise whatever assets are deemed necessary. The trust assets to be appraised are set out on the Appraisal Report of California Probate Referee form.

What Is The Compensation Of The Probate Referee?
For any appraisal required by statute, Probate Referee fees are 1/10th of 1% (.001) of the total assets listed on Attachment 2. The minimum fee is $75.00. For example, the Probate Referee’s fee to appraise a home valued at $100,000.00 is $100.00. In addition, the Probate Referee charges for expenses, such as mileage, mapping, and photos. In trust and other nonprobate matters, the fee is negotiable.

Do I Have To Use A Probate Referee?
Generally yes, in all court matters and even in some non-probate procedures, a Probate Referee is required. The court will not waive the Probate Referee appraisal unless there is a showing of “good cause”. However, to waive a Probate Referee requires a court hearing, and the filing of several documents. In the end, it may cost the estate more to attempt to waive the Probate Referee than the usual relatively modest Probate Referee fee involved. Most judges,
who rely upon the Probate Referee to verify assets, are reluctant to grant a waiver. If there are extraordinary circumstances in your case, you should discuss them with one of the Probate Referees in your county before filing a Petition for Waiver. In most cases, the matter can be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

·  Probate Referees provide accurate appraisals of trust assets for purposes of estatetaxes, gift distribution, or determination of the Trustee fees.
·  Probate Referees may insulate the Trustee from claims by the beneficiaries that assets were undervalued or overvalued for distribution, fee determination purposes, or eliminating any other conflict of interest that may exist.
·  Probate Referees can appraise all non-cash assets located within California,making the Trustee’s job easier. Your local Probate Referee will take care of referring out-of-county property to other Probate Referees in the State, obtaininga local expert in each county for the appraisal.
·  Act as an independent and fair appraiser for dispute situations such as in a dissolution proceeding, in an action for partition of real property, or
 in partnership conflicts.

·  Determine fair market value to assist in liquidation matters. (CCP §873.010)
·  Determine fair market values for use in dissolution of partnership matters or partition actions.(CCP §873.010)
·  Provide valuations for partial ownership interests. (See Minority Discounts page 22)
·  Determine fair market value in foreclosure actions. (CCP §726)

·  Appraisal fees are extremely competitive. In Trust situations, Probate Referee fees are negotiable and compare favorably with charges made by “fee” appraisers.
·  Probate Referees enjoy the support and confidence of the IRS and judges. If prior arrangements have been made, Probate Referees will defend their values i fquestions arise with the IRS and courts. Probate Referees retain their records andsupporting documentation for a period of three (3) year