How do I know if I need an appraisal?

Appraisals are needed for settling taxable estates, to document charitable donations, insurance planning or damage claims, and to assess valuable items you wish to sell.


An appraisal may be needed for probate purposes and or equitable division of property. Your attorney of financial advisor will guide you through the estate process and tell you if you need an appraisal.

How do I know if an appraiser is qualified to value my possessions?

Insurance companies, taxable estates, and many charitable donations require a qualified appraiser's report. A qualified appraiser will be accredited by a professional organization such as the International Society of Appraisers and will be knowledgeable in the areas he or she appraises. No one person can know everything so appraisers consult one another and call in experts as needed.


What type of items do you appraise?

Maria Gianino, ISA, Accredited Member of International Society of Appraisers, is accredited in Antiques and Residential Contents as well as Vintage and Estate and Fine Jewelry and Art. She has studied many different subjects and passed comprehensive exams to keep her credentials current. She continues her studies on a regular basis. She is also USPAP certified. Reputable appraisers will tell you if they are not qualified to appraise a specific item or category of objects. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Appraisals do you prepare?

Maria Gianino prepares appraisals for trusts and taxable estates, estate planning and settlement, equitable distribution of property, insurance claims, divorce, charitable donation and historic property or museum planning and sales. 

How much does an appraisal cost?

The appraiser may be able to estimate the total cost of a written appraisal from photos sent ahead of time or after a visit to the site. Accredited appraisers work on an hourly charge or set a day rate, but they never work on a commission basis. It is illegal to charge a percentage of the appraised value. The contract should clearly state the hourly or date rate fees, which vary from region to region. Your situation will be discussed before we begin, and you will clearly understand the fee structure. Estate sales and brokerage services are commission based. An appraisal and estate sale are totally separate functions.