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How can I determine the worth of my assets?

With a divorce approaching, you should know how much your assets are worth so that you receive your fair share in the final settlement. Still, dollar amounts may not tell the whole story. Although some assets may have the same dollar value, it does not mean they will yield equal worth.

Take care that you do not confuse the dollar value of an asset with how much of a return the asset will provide you in the future. If you know what to look for, you may have a better idea of which assets to keep after your divorce so you avoid certain taxes and expenses. U.S. News and World Report provides some examples of how to determine the true worth of your assets.

Differences in taxation

Consider a situation where you and your spouse each end up with an asset with the same dollar value. You receive stock while your spouse retains an ownership interest in a piece of real estate. This does not mean each of you will pay the same amount of taxes on it. You should also know how state and federal tax law will treat each asset as you may pay more or less depending on what assets the settlement awards you.

Asset appreciation

Some assets like stocks appreciate in value over time. However, this may be a case where keeping an asset with appreciated value can yield a smaller return than you anticipate. The question is whether the asset has a taxable gain on it. If you are not aware of this going into a settlement, your spouse could end up with stocks with about the same dollar value but a lower tax burden because those stocks have not appreciated.

Maintenance and upkeep expenses

Another way to look at your assets is how much it will cost to keep them up. You may have to sink a lot of money to maintain an asset to the point where it might not be worth it to hold on to unless you can sell it off quickly. For example, if you want to hold on to a high priced residence, you may want to budget how much you will need for upkeep. You could end up spending a lot of money in the long run on maintenance costs.