What is Valuation of Property?

Scales of justiceThe word “valuation” has many meanings. (It was held in State of Missouri ex rel. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Public Service Commission of Missouri, 262 U.S. 276, 310, 43 S. Ct. 544, 554, 67 L. Ed. 981, Pub. Util. Rep. (PUR) 1923C-193, 31 A.L.R. 807 (1923), that “value is a word of many meanings.”)


After reviewing several dictionaries, a common definition of valuation is submitted:

Valuation: The act or process of assessing the value or price of something; an appraisal or assessment or estimation.


Obviously the art of solving anything is not a science. Nevertheless we recognize that by definition valuation of anything requires someone to assess the worth of an item in question. The goal of an evaluator is to ascribe to the object being valued its fair market price. Yet it must be kept in mind that these evaluations are only opinion evidence of the appraisers asked to give their assessments about objects under inquiry. Equally important for us to bear in mind is that these appraisers are reasonable men and women, with skills in varied areas, and, as is true of all “reasonable people,” their opinions may vary as to items being appraised. Thus, even with the aid of expert evaluators to serve the tribunal charged with the final responsibility for setting the “value” of property, great difficulties may still face the court because of the legitimate variance of opinion regarding property sought to be valued. And equally problematical is the fact that the court may rely on the expert’s opinion although the expert’s approach may have been erroneous, thus warranting a remand on appeal. See In re Marriage of Rossi, 113 Ill. App. 3d 55, 68 Ill. Dec. 801, 446 N.E.2d 1198 (1st Dist. 1983), wherein the Appellate Court reversed the trial court because it relied on an expert’s improper use of Revenue Ruling 59-60.Then, to make matters more complicated for the trier of fact, he must deal with the many types of value which exist.


As a general rule, the value to be accorded community property that is to be divided in a divorce proceeding is market value, or the amount that a willing buyer, who desires to buy but is under no obligation to buy, would pay to a willing seller, who desires to sell but is under no obligation to sell. See Mandell v. Mandell, 310 S.W.3d 531 (Tex. App. Fort Worth 2010), review denied, (Oct. 1, 2010).




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