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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 44 - 1 - 14 §44-1-14. Appraisement of real estate and probate personal property of decedents; disposition; and hiring of experts.

(a) The personal representative of an estate of a deceased person shall appraise the deceased's real estate and personal probate property, or any real estate or personal probate property in which the deceased person had an interest at the time of his or her death, as provided in this section.

(b) After having taken the appropriate oath, the personal representative shall, on the appraisement form prescribed by the tax commissioner, list the following items owned by the decedent or in which the decedent had an interest and the fair market value of the items at the date of the decedent's death:

(1) All probate and nonprobate real estate including, but not limited to, real estate owned by the decedent, as a joint tenant with right of survivorship with one or more parties, as a life estate, subject to a power of appointment of the decedent, or in which any beneficial interest passes by trust or otherwise to another person by reason of the death of the decedent; and

(2) All probate personal property, whether tangible or intangible, including, but not limited to, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, mortgages, notes, cash, life insurance payable to the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate and all other items of probate personal property.

(c) Any real estate or interest in real estate so appraised must be identified with particularity and description. The personal representative shall identify the source of title in the decedent and the location of the realty for purposes of real property ad valorem taxation.

(d) For purposes of this section, the term "probate personal property" means all property which passes by or under the decedent's will or by the laws of intestate descent and distribution or is otherwise subject to administration in a decedent's estate under common law.

(e) The personal representative shall complete, under oath, a questionnaire included in the appraisement form designed by the tax commissioner for the purpose of reporting to the tax commissioner whether the estate of the decedent is subject to estate tax as provided in article eleven, chapter eleven of this code and whether the decedent owned or had an interest in any nonprobate personal property: Provided, That the tax commissioner shall design a questionnaire that is as much as possible phrased in understandable English.

(f) The appraisement form must be executed and signed by the personal representative. The original appraisement form and two copies thereof, together with the completed and notarized nonprobate inventory form required by section seven, article eleven, chapter eleven of this code, shall be returned to the clerk of the county commission by whom the personal representative was appointed or to the fiduciary supervisor within ninety days of the date of qualification of the personal representative. The clerk or supervisor shall inspect the appraisement form to determine whether it is in proper form. If the appraisement form is returned to a fiduciary supervisor, within ten days after being received and approved, the supervisor shall deliver the documents to the clerk of the county commission. Upon receipt of the appraisement form, the clerk of the county commission shall record it with the certificate of approval of the supervisor and mail a certified copy of the appraisement form, together with the unrecorded nonprobate inventory form, to the tax commissioner. The date of return of an appraisement form must be entered by the clerk of the county commission in his or her record of fiduciaries. The nonprobate inventory form shall be considered confidential tax return information subject to the provisions of section five-d, article ten, chapter eleven of this code and may not be disclosed by the clerk of the county commission and his or her officers and employees or former officers and employees, except to the tax commissioner as provided in this section. Nothing in this section shall be construed to hinder, abrogate, or prevent disclosure of information as authorized in section thirty-five, article eleven of said chapter.

(g) An executed and signed appraisement form is prima facie evidence:

(1) Of the value of the property listed;

(2) That the property is subject to administration; and

(3) That the property was received by the personal representative.

(h) Any personal representative who refuses or declines, without reasonable cause, to comply with the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

(i) Every personal representative has authority to retain the services of an expert as may be appropriate to assist and advise him or her concerning his or her duties in appraising any asset or property pursuant to the provisions of this section. An expert so retained shall be compensated a reasonable sum by the personal representative from the assets of the estate. The compensation and its reasonableness is subject to review and approval by the county commission, upon recommendation of the fiduciary supervisor.

(j) Except as specifically provided in subdivision (1), subsection (b) of this section and in section seven, article eleven, chapter eleven of this code, the personal representative is not required to list and appraise nonprobate real estate or nonprobate personal property of the decedent on the forms required in this section or section seven of said article.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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