COLLECTIONS AND ESTATE PLANS

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COLLECTIONS AND ESTATE PLANS

13:07 23 March in Estate Planning, Heirs & Benificiaries, Trusts

COLLECTIONS AND ESTATE PLANS

POSTED BY MARK & BROWN, P.A. || 15-JUNE-2015

Many Florida residents invest a lot of time, effort, and money into building collections of things which have special meaning for them.  There are people who collect stamps, baseball cards, comic books, and even vintage cars.  The list goes on, and if you can imagine it, someone probably collects it.  Regardless of what the collection is, these things are usually extremely significant to the people who collect them.  However, they can also represent significant financial assets as well.  For example, there are certain comic books which, if sold in mint-condition, can go for thousands of dollars to the right individual.  For this reason, collections need to be specifically addressed in an estate plan.  The approach will vary depending on the wishes of the individual owners, but the goal remains the same: to ensure that the owner has final authority over what happens to their beloved collection.

Things To Consider

Sometimes there will be a family member with an interest in inheriting a particular collection, and this can sometimes simplify the issue.  A collector might chose to leave the items of their collection to this particular individual in their will, but there are other things to consider.  For example, your nephew, Arthur, might love your antique toy collection just as much as you do, but if he lives in a small one bedroom apartment it might be difficult for him to take on the responsibility.  For collections which require a significant investment in upkeep, taxation, or maintenance, it may be a good idea to create a trust or endowment to provide the financial means for caring for the collection.

Sometimes there isn’t a family member or friend with an interest in the collection, and this can make things more difficult.  If this is the case, then if might be better to sell off the collection and set aside the proceeds for the purpose of inheritance.  This can be a very painful process, but it also ensures that the items go to people who will appreciate them.  The process itself should always begin by obtaining an appraisal of the collected items.  From there, potential buyers will need to be located and contacted regarding the available items.  The family will also need to determine if gifting or selling the collection during the owner’s lifetime would be more advantageous over waiting until after death.

Every Situation Is Different

Every collection is unique.  If you are establishing an estate plan and need to address a collection, then you need to carefully consider all of your options.  There are estate plan solutions like trusts and endowments which can help to ensure that your collection is kept safe and maintained for many years to come, but a qualified estate planning attorney can help you to understand all of your options.  As with so many estate planning subjects, discussing the issue with family members is important.

Please feel free to contact our offices if you’d like to learn more about estate planning and ways which you can protect your legacy.  We would be happy to schedule you a free consultation with an estate planning attorney.