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Juliana, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1651
Experience:  23 years of legal experience, former child support attorney, currently practicing family law
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How to assess the value of used furniture during divorce assets

Resolved Question:

How to assess the value of used furniture during divorce assets settlement?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Juliana replied 6 years ago.



Thanks for your question.


The easiest way to go about this would be for you and your spouse to make a list of your furniture, and agree on the value of each item. If this isn't possible for whatever reason, each of you can make a list of your furniture and estimate the value of each item, and the judge will decide. If you still have receipts for the items when they were purchased new (or used) that will be very helpful in determining a current value.


If your furniture is valuable/expensive, or if you have antiques, it would be wise to hire a professional appraiser to come in and give a value on each item. You can do this, anyway, if you and your spouse can't agree, or if you don't want to try to put a value on the furniture yourself. An appraiser likely wouldn't charge much to come in and look over your furniture and give you prices, at least for some of the larger and/or more expensive items.


Hope this helps.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Most of the furniture is 20-35 years old and not anything special, though it is in good condition. Is there a formulae for depreciation? A few pieces are 6 yrs old. I wanted a realistic value by some standard acceptable way to jusge the value based on the original purchase price and the depreciation for the age of the furniture. Thanks!

Expert:  Juliana replied 6 years ago.

I believe you're referring to a formula used by the IRS in depreciating business property for income tax purposes. Marital property is not depreciated in this manner during a divorce, as the formula can become quite complicated and beyond the scope of the average divorcing parties -- admittedly, most married couples do not save all their receipts for furniture they've purchased during their marriage, in contemplation of divorce, nor do many of them remember the exact purchase price in the absence of a receipt, as well as when each item was purchased.


Again, the standard methods of determining the present value of furniture are by agreement of the parties, assessment by a professional appraiser (or at least by someone who is knowledgeable and can be agreed upon by the parties, such as an antiques or furniture dealer), or by decision of the court when presented with the relevant evidence that is available to the parties.


Of course, if you and your spouse wish to utilize the IRS's depreciation formula for business equipment on your household furniture, you can do so, but be aware that this is not the norm and it is not required (and may not even be accepted) by the courts.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

How to find the professional furniture assessors? furniture and art work we have is not really expensive to begin with. Also most of the things are 20-35 years old.

Expert:  Juliana replied 6 years ago.

You should be able to find a furniture appraiser by looking in your local Yellow Pages (or on the internet) under "Appraisers." You will likely see listings for both personal property appraisers and real estate appraisers (some of the real estate people will also appraise personal property such furniture, while others will handle only real estate).


Also, if there is an antique store in your area, they will likely have an appraiser they either know from business contacts, or use personally in their own business.

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