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How Do I Determine the Value of Assets?

Your attorney will assist you in the ways available to value the assets and as to what date will be used to value the assets.

For example, real estate can be valued either by an agreed upon value by the spouses or by a real estate appraiser.

If a spouse has a pension plan, it can be valued by an actuary or by a C.P.A.

If a spouse owns a business, it can be valued by a forensic C.P.A.

Life insurance can be valued by its cash surrender value.

Stock values can be found on the internet sites or in the Wall Street Journal.

Bank account values can be found on the bank statements.

Statements for 401(k) plans, IRAs, etc., can be found on the statements issued by the financial institution where the funds are invested.

A car can often be valued by using the Kelly Blue Book value, or having it appraised at a car dealer.

Collectables (antiques, coins, guns, etc.) can be valued by an appraiser familiar with the particular items.

Your attorney will assist in gathering all of the information needed to identify the assets and value them. This is done either informally between the parties as they voluntarily exchange the necessary documentation, or formally through a legal process called “discovery,” where the attorney can require the other party to produce documentation or answer questions under oath, or the documentation can be obtained directly from the persons or companies that have the information.

For example, information on bank accounts or investments can be obtained directly from the investment company or bank. Information on a spouse’s retirement or savings can be obtained directly from the employer. This assures that you will have accurate and complete information on the assets and debts to enable you to make confident decisions about distribution of assets and debts.