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Art, Collectibles, Heirlooms — How to Estate Plan for Hard Assets

By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
December 20, 2018

Art, Collectibles, Heirlooms — How to Estate Plan for Hard Assets

It’s common for people to transfer liquid assets such as cash, bonds, and stocks in a will or trust. Hard assets like art, collectibles, and heirlooms can be more difficult to classify. However, they often hold great value — which can be maximized if there is a plan in place.

If you want your heirs to gain the highest value for hard assets, you’ll need to do a bit of research and record keeping. Here are some guidelines on how to make the process simple and straightforward.

Keep an Inventory

This is one of the most important aspects of managing your hard assets. Write down each asset that you wish to pass on to your heirs and where it is located in your home or storage building.

By investing the time in creating an inventory, your heirs will know exactly which items you desire to pass on and what items hold value.

Check Values

You can research the fair market value of all your hard assets by conducting searches online and making a record of what you find. Make sure to record the dates of when you find the retail value of an item, as values can shift over time.

It’s also wise to consult with an appraiser for high value items. Work with a certified, experienced appraiser for the most accurate results. For example, Nugent Appraisal.

The appraiser will offer an affidavit for the item’s value at the time of appraisal. This can help your heirs liquidate the items for their maximum value.

If you previously had your art, collectibles, or heirlooms appraised, it may be time for a new appraisal. For example, the price of gold continues to climb, and gold jewelry that was appraised 20 years ago could have tripled — or even quadrupled — in value.

Make sure your appraisals are up-to-date for the best benefits to your heirs, and update your values with your insurance company as well.

Outline Expectations

You may wish to give certain hard assets to particular family members. Record your expectations for the distribution of specific items and tell the family member your intentions.

If you designate a certain family member to handle hard asset liquidation or distribution, you’ll offer greater peace of mind to all your heirs.

Too often, family members squabble over who gets what. If you write out clear expectations, there won’t be any questions as to what your wishes were for the items in question.

Talk with the designated family member about whether he or she is willing and able to handle the responsibility. The sooner you have the conversation, the better chance your heirs have of a peaceful transition and a beneficial outcome.

How an Estate Planning Attorney Can Help

An estate planning attorney can help you create a legally binding document for the distribution and liquidation of your hard assets. This document will name the person who will handle the assets when you are gone. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your assets are protected and will be given out exactly as you wish.

Author:
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Haimo Law
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
Email: barry@haimolaw.com
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