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What if a home appraisal is low during estate planning?

You’re doing your estate planning, and one of your major assets is your home. You do not want to leave it to both of your children because you worry that it may cause a dispute. Plus, you already talked to them and one of them wants the house, while the other does not.

To try to keep things even, you have a home appraisal done. This way, you can know the value of the house and you can offset it in the estate plan by giving your other heir different assets with the same value.

This is wise, but it also raises some potential problems. What if you get an appraiser with little experience and they give you too low of a value for the house? What if it’s too high? You can ask for a second appraisal, but now you’re just spending extra time and money.

The problem is that, if your heir gets the house and sees how much money went to their sibling, they may still feel like you wronged them in some way.

For instance, maybe your appraiser put the house at $400,000. You then left your $400,000 life insurance policy exclusively to the other sibling. It’s fine at the time, but what if the child with the house tries to sell and gets a new appraisal for $300,000? Now they feel like their sibling got $100,000 more than them.

The financial side of an estate plan can get complex and you do want to avoid causing family conflict. Be sure you consider all of the options that you have carefully.

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