Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Estate planning for collectors

Many people living in Florida understand the importance of estate planning. These individuals work with their attorneys to write wills, ensure that their retirement plan beneficiaries are up to date and have discussed their end-of-life wishes and documents with family members and physicians. One aspect of planning that may be overlooked, however, is what happens to personal property, such as art collections or other valuables.

Interestingly, many attorneys have noted that personal possessions can create significant conflicts in the settling of an estate. There are several reasons why this is the case. The first is relatively straightforward. Objects may have sentimental or personal significance to beneficiaries. As a result, if the deceased did not specify what should happen to a particular item, family members may squabble over it.

The other issue is that the executor of the will may not realize that some personal items may be worth a lot of money. As a result, these valuables may be thrown away, donated or sold for a fraction of their actual value.

Legal experts often advise owners of valuables and collectors to inventory their personal property and periodically have items of value appraised. This will help attorneys and estate executors to properly value and dispose of items after the owner dies. In addition, wills should specify what happens to valuables after the owner passes away. Doing this can help prevent family conflict.

Collectors who are considering estate planning may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. A lawyer might be able to review a client’s case and make recommendations regarding every aspect of planning the estate, including what happens to prized collections and pieces of art.