‘Date of Death’ and ‘Retrospective’ Real Estate Appraisals

Although these two types of appraisals are not uncommon, they’re hard to find out a lot of information about. Anyone who may face this situation in the future will certainly need to be informed and at least have some basic knowledge of the facts. In most cases the “date of death” appraisal is for anyone who has recently lost a loved one or inherited property. If a family member dies and leaves you property or a transfer of ownership occurs because of death, the appraisal is usually needed for tax purposes. An accountant or attorney may also be appointed to order the appraisal or the appraiser may even be chosen by a family member. These appraisals are usually ordered within two to six months from the date of death or the inheritance of the home or property. There are times when it may be ordered in just a few weeks or it might also be prolonged beyond the six month mark. aspen2History or Retrospective Value Estate planning and other instances cause the need for a historical or retrospective appraisal. This process involves completing a current inspection of the property but valuing it for another time. For instance the time at which the home was purchased would be the retrospective value. This is what happens for a date of death appraisal as well. Although a current inspection of the property is performed the value is placed in retrospect to the weeks, months, or years before when the date of death occurred. Keep in mind you don’t have to put much concern into the type of appraisal to order for circumstances like this. In most cases, the attorney or accountant involved will order this more specialized appraisal. These are the types of circumstances in which professionals should have the say in making things happen so the right thing does happen. At least moving forward with this basic knowledge you’ll have a better understanding of the process involved. Making the Distinction Another instance when this type of appraisal may be used is in the case of a divorce and a retrospective appraisal is ordered. Here is an example:
  • A couple gets married and the wife moves into a home the husband already owned. Should the couple divorce, the wife may make claims that her efforts helped greatly increase the value of the home. A retrospective appraisal would demonstrate the value of the home at the point when the wife moved in. This compared to a current assessment (along with proof of her invested efforts) would show how the home has increased in value more so than it would have based on the current value without the enhancements.
The process involves a current inspection and then the home is compared to other similar homes that sold in the area at the time. Key features such as square footage, number of bedrooms, and special features such as a swimming pool are all used to find comparable homes. This can be done for the value of the home last week or decades ago. I hope you found this helpful and if you have any additional questions, thoughts, or comments please leave them down below.  The Aspen Appraisal Group specializes in appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate, date of death, tax appeals, pre-listings, and more throughout the greater Salt Lake area.  For more info contact us at our Salt Lake City office at (801) 260-2828 or our Heber City office at (435) 657-9630.  You can also contact us through our website at

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