McReath reminds appraisers of the importance of independence, says Billings

Craig K. Billings (Capital Valuation Group, Inc.), the primary valuation expert for the wife in McReath v. McReath (see BVWire #107-1), believes the case stands for the proposition that “the business appraiser should carefully analyze a business and trends in its income and expenses, and then reach an independent opinion.” The trial judge was critical of the husband’s expert not so much because of the numeric value he reached, Billings observes, “but because it was not adequately supported and came across as advocative rather than independent”:

The decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court focuses primarily on the treatment of goodwill associated with the practice, concluding that the determinative factor is whether the goodwill is salable, not whether it is described as "personal" or "enterprise" goodwill. From this perspective, the court valued Dr. McReath’s orthodontic practice [using the same] valuation standards applicable to any business, whether a commercial enterprise or a professional practice.  The primary consideration is whether the intangible or goodwill value is transferable (salable) to the willing buyer.