Would you hire an architect to design your house who was neither educated nor had specialized training or current membership in a recognized association for architects? I am certain you would not!

 Written by Wall Fiction's fine art advisor, Kelly Juhasz.


A qualified personal property appraiser provides a professional service. These specialized consultants have valuation methodology training as well as advanced education and sector experience. Qualified appraisers have been trained to produce professionally-written appraisal reports for estate and insurance purposes as well as other legal matters.

High-value items such as fine and decorative arts, collectables, gems and jewelry, as well as machinery and equipment have unique characteristics and trade in niche markets. Reporting an opinion of value requires a complex set of skills that take years to develop. Moreover, by producing arms-length reports, appraisers maintain their reputation as third-party experts eliminating conflicts of interest and ensuring transparency.

Working with qualified appraisers enables other professionals, including wealth and estate advisors and lawyers, to have greater confidence when advising their clients knowing that the opinions of value received were formed by unbiased and qualified professionals.


Kelly Juhasz



The independent personal property appraiser became a key component of the professional services sector in the early 1980s as a result of a developing need in the marketplace for more transparency and trust. The International Society of Appraisers (ISA), for example, was formed in 1979 as an extension of the Appraisal Foundation, a directive from the United States Congress, and mandated to protect the public, offer training in appraisal methodology and maintain appraiser credentials.

The Appraisal Foundation developed an appraiser code of conduct and set of standards under which qualified appraisers could base their consultancy. These standards called the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are recognized in Canada and the United States and are updated every two years to reflect changes in the valuation field.

The Canada Revenue Agency lists USPAP as the recognized appraisal methodology standards for fair market value appraisal reports in their Gifts and Income Tax 2019 Guide.[i] As well, in July 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States issued a new rule regarding the valuations of charitable contributions that specifically cites the requirement that qualified appraisal reports conform to USPAP.[ii] The decisive role of qualified appraisers in the professional service sector was re-confirmed in 2019 by the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (Tax Court) whereby both parties determined that personal property assets would be better protected when a qualified and independent appraiser is retained to value one’s personal property.[iii]

These key legal decisions and recognition of appraisal standards signifies the added attention by government agencies to rigour in personal property valuation and an increasing appreciation of the need for qualified appraisers.

You would not hire an accountant, wealth advisor or insurance broker who did not have specialized training, was not a member of a recognized industry association with a code of conduct and ethics as well as a commitment to ongoing learning. Why would you hire someone calling themselves an appraiser to value your personal assets without similar credentials?

You can find a qualified personal property appraiser for your personal assets through the International Society of Appraisers (ISA).


[i] Canada Revenue Agency. (2019). Gifts and Income Tax Guide , P113 (E) Rev. 19, pg. 14-15.

[ii] Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. (July 30, 2018). 26 CFR Parts 1 and 602 [TD 9836]
RIN 1545–BH62, Substantiation and Reporting Requirements for Cash and Noncash Charitable Contribution Deductions. Generally accepted appraisal standards are defined in the regulations at § 1.170A-17(a)(2) as the “substance and principles of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice [USPAP], as developed by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation.” 

[iii] Estate of Kollsman v. Commissioner, No. 18-70565 (9th Cir. June 21, 2019) & Estate of Kollsman v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2017-40 (February 22, 2017)


Kelly Juhasz is a qualified appraiser specializing in fine art and archives and able to value all personal property. She is an Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers and a member of ISA's Private Client Services Group, a group of qualified appraisers who have completed specialized training and hold senior level industry experience in dealing with High Net Worth Individuals. She writes appraisal reports for insurance companies, wealth advisors, estate lawyers, government agencies and in the role of an expert witness. She also works directly with collectors, families, family offices, estates and beneficiaries. She is president of the Canadian Chapter of the International Society of Appraisers.