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Making provisions for collections in an estate plan

People in Florida and across the country who have expensive wine collections or valuable pieces of art should take a few legal measures to ensure the items are cared for upon their death. Failing to do so could mean that something of significant monetary or sentimental value could simply be sold.

According to Heritage Auctions, one of the largest auctioneers of collectibles, people who own collections should make their wishes known to their heirs or beneficiaries. Experts suggest doing this through either a customized trust, a will codicil or a directive letter to be included in a will.

When putting together plans, it is important for someone to consider the following:

  •        How much is it worth?
  •        Will the collection be taxed?
  •        Could an estate tax come into play?

Part of the estate planning should involve having the collection appraised by a professional. This will enable the owner to asses the true value, which may be important when dividing assets among family members.

The Wall Street Journal points out that heirs may not always want to follow through with the plan. This highlights the importance of discussing options with these individuals ahead of time to determine what their intentions are for the collection. Should the owner be unsatisfied with how the beneficiary wants to handle the collection, it may be wise to choose a different person or entity to inherit it. For example, many people leave valuable art collections or other items of historical significance to a museum.

Any property that holds value – whether monetary or sentimental – should always be factored into an estate plan. Proper legal documentation is the only way to ensure that a decedent’s wishes are kept.

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