Appraise, a service provided by Evaluation Services, Inc. of Old Tappan, NJ, furnishes securities pricing for estate and gift tax returns, cost basis research and corporate action information through a web-based platform.
Kelley Rating (one asterisk = lowest, to five asterisks = highest):
- Ease of navigation, design of interface and learning curve ***
- Instructional documentation and help system ****
- Carries out the goal of the product as advertised *****
- Overall usefulness *****
EstateVal is a software package by Estate Valuation and Pricing Systems, Inc. The program provides securities valuation for estate and gift tax returns based on the publisher's online database. The publisher's CostBasis product determines the portfolio's original worth and adjusts for stock splits. Its CapWatch product reviews historical capital changes for publicly held securities.
Wallace Software from Financial Data Service, Inc. provides a CD-ROM with securities prices and online access to additional resources. The program offers estate valuation pricing and other securities pricing information, such as dividend reports and stock splits.
What Is It?
The Appraise products enable you to quickly obtain pricing and dividend information on publicly held securities and to generate reports that are ready to file with estate and gift tax returns and court accountings.
What Does It Do?
The Appraise products include Appraise Windows software for installation on your own computer and Appraise Application Service Provider (ASP), which operates online from the publisher's website. The pricing and dividend information needed for public securities valuation are maintained on the publisher's database systems. This service provides securities pricing for more than three million publicly held domestic and international securities.
As with all ASP services, the Appraise facility may be accessed remotely from any location. It requires a web browser, and you must obtain a username and password that is assigned by the publisher. The ASP application resides on the publisher's servers and stores the data on your computer. Appraise ASP updates are added on a regular basis, thereby eliminating the need for installing new versions of the software on your computer.
Appraise performs these services:
- Estate and Gift Tax Valuations -- securities valuation according to the Internal Revenue Service rules based on the mean price and accrues securities income to the date of gift, or date of death and alternate valuation date, with automatic adjustment for stock splits between the date of death and the alternate date. For alternate valuations that have transactional activity between the date of death and alternate date, Appraise allows you to input the cash, cash in lieu (of partial or fractional shares upon mergers), distribution, exchange, fee, matured, merger, name change, redeemed, remark, reverse split, sold, spin-off, split, transfer in and transfer out.
- EZPrice -- current and historical pricing information showing unadjusted high, low, close price and indicated annual dividend for equities and funds. It also returns bid, ask and close price for bonds. The security value can be calculated using the high, low, close or mean prices.
- Appraise 1040-1041 Income Calculator -- date of death valuations for preparation of a decedent's personal income tax returns and estate or trust fiduciary income tax returns. This product calculates and prorates the dividends to a decedent's final income (Form 1040) and trust/estate (Form 1041) tax returns for a calendar or fiscal year. You can create a new portfolio or import an existing date of death portfolio.
- Florida Intangible Tax Valuations -- annual reporting date valuations for intangible personal property.
- Appraise Lookup -- stock split and dividend history, as well as issue identifiers for stock split history (data available since 1968), stock dividend and unit investment trust principal payout history (data available since 1992) and issue research for equities and funds using ticker symbols or Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures (CUSIP) numbers.
- Cost Basis Calculator -- automatically calculates adjusted cost basis of securities taking into account all splits, spin-offs, distributions and other cost basis actions that affect corporations over any holding period dating back to 1900. Results include the date and type of corporate action and the asset allocation with a running total of current costs and current shares. The CostBasis website will furnish estate and gift tax valuations with just a credit card or an account number without any software installation.
- Appraise Dividend Reinvestor -- calculates cost basis, market value and capital gains and losses for dividend reinvestment plans, and automatically adjusts for stock splits.
- Appraise Unitrust -- annual securities valuation held in the charitable unitrusts based on close or mean price, including income calculations.
- State Estate Tax Valuations -- valuations responsive to local requirements, such as state "decoupling" laws.
The publisher indicates that it will be adding:
- Foreign Dividend Reporter -- reporting of the dividend type, date and amount in local currency for the valuation of foreign securities and currencies;
- IFileForm706.com -- a website that will furnish estate and gift tax valuations with just a credit card or an account number without any software installation; and
- Multi-date Pricing Report -- an ASP application that will allow a user to select a date range for which the publisher will provide either daily, weekly, monthly or annual pricing and volume information.
A demo is available at www.appraisenj.com/ESI/utilities.html, along with other utilities, including the Universal Import program designed to import securities data from other programs into Appraise.
The Appraise products are designed for use on PC's or compatible hardware.
How Does It Work?
Both the ASP and the Windows software open with a screen from which you may select among: "Appraise," "Dividend Reinvestor" (used for calculation of reinvested dividends), "Reorg From To" (collects all reorganization data within a specified date range), "1040/1041 Income Calculator" (assigns dividends to a decedent's final income tax return and to the estate or trust return, including capital changes), "Florida Intangible Tax," "UniTrust" ( provides mean pricing for unitrust valuations) or "NJ State Estate Tax."
If you select "Appraise," a screen appears from which you may select among "Estate and Gift Tax" for tax return valuation, "EZPrice" for historical security pricing, "Basis$earch" for cost basis accounting information or multiple date pricing, "Capital Changes/Issue Research" for reorganization information, stock dividends, issue research and stock split history. From this screen you may also select a system setup screen that allows you to select various alternates to direct data entry and format reports.
Clicking on "Estate & Gift Tax," for example, takes you to a screen from which you may choose to modify a portfolio or create a new portfolio. When you create a portfolio, the next screen allows you to enter a date of death, add securities (either CUSIP number or ticker symbol) and price the securities listed. You can then create an alternate date of death portfolio and delete or add new securities. When you resubmit your portfolio for pricing, Appraise will only charge you for added securities. If you prepare alternate valuations for transactional activity between the date of death and alternate date, Appraise prompts you to input the types of activity, such as distributions, mergers, redemptions, splits, spin-offs, etc.
Once you have entered all the desired items into the portfolio, you may direct the program to create a report with pricing. The report not only values the securities requested, but also adds comments on the valuation technique. This may be particularly helpful when dealing with such items as pooled federal agency bonds. You may sort the data by CUSIP number, security type or security description. The report may be printed, saved to a text file or saved to a data file. The "Estate Valuation" report displays the high, low and mean price and security value, including accrued dividends and interest.
Help and Tech Support
A detailed user manual is available for download from the publisher's website at www.appraisenj.com/ESI/downloads.html. Technical support is available to ASP customers by phone, email inquiry, web conferencing and session shadowing.
How to Get It
The software, or ASP access, is supplied without cost, but you must register with the publisher and request an account to obtain a user ID and password. There is an annual subscription charge based on your number of accounts starting at $75 per account for one to five accounts. Federal and state estate tax charges, EZPrice (security pricing without accrued income) and basis search pricing are listed at www.appraisenj.com/ESI/feeschedule.html.
You may contact the publisher at:
Evaluation Services, Inc.
180 Old Tappan Road, Building 4
Old Tappan, NJ 07675
Sales Information: 888-ESI-4706
Phone: 201-784 8500
Fax: 201-784 9685.
Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley -- a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software , (Thomson - West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property, Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at [email protected]
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