Don’t let your investments end up being considered just “personal property.”

After your death, all of the things in your home or office are considered  “personal property” and depending on how you’ve planned, may become subject to the determination of the person appointed as your personal representative.  The personal representative can decide to sell them, divide them, or perhaps not even report them. What about that Andy Warhol painting that might just look like a picture of tomato soup to some, but is actually extremely valuable? Well that surely is not just “personal property,” is it? Believe it or not, these valuable items are indeed classified as personal property and you will need to plan for these assets within your estate plan. Rather than leave it up to chance, bequest these types of property to a specific beneficiary. If you do not have an heir that you wish to leave the asset to, you can always donate it to a charitable organization.

Are there laws governing these situations?

The IRS has a definition of what they consider to be collectibles. Assets included in the definition are artwork, rugs, antiques, gems, and stamps or coins. Although the IRS can deem any tangible item a collectible, collectibles have special taxes and estate laws that will apply when they are distributed. The laws can cause high taxes, penalties, or unfair market value assessments but an experienced estate planning attorney will guide you through how to avoid those things.

In my eyes it’s priceless!

Many people will tend to feel this way about their investments or collectibles, but the truth is everyone sees value differently. Your heirs might place a higher value on a certain asset for emotional reasons or because it is a family heirloom. The best way to avoid arguments over the value of your assets is to seek out appraisers during your lifetime.  Depending on how you set up your estate plan, you could bequest items to achieve an even outcome among beneficiaries.  You may want to include the appraisals with your estate documents. This will give your heirs a starting point and a realistic idea of what the items could be worth.

What should I do?

The best thing to do is to always be prepared. Get everything in order while you are still able. Have the items appraised, talk with family members to see if they would be interested in having them, and consult with an attorney regarding your local laws on estate property. You want to give the most to your heirs without them having to pay high taxes. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to help you with this.

Have a current dispute over a loved one’s collectibles?

The Probate Pro has a seasoned team of litigators that will fight for you. Our litigation team fights to win, and they will represent your best interest in a dispute.

We have built a team that can provide these services to you. A consultation is always free.

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