Determining what happens to collectibles in estate planning

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Having an elegant home filled with family heirlooms, antiques along with various collections, you have a good feeling in knowing just how much these items mean to you. However, you understand that in no way will they provide the same meaning and emotion to others. And as a Baby Boomer, you wonder what will become of them along with other types of assets once you die.

Some nostalgic, some valuable and some ingrained with emotion, these mementos from a Jackson Pollock painting and 18th-century European furniture to a wine collection, Mickey Mantle baseball glove and vintage cars instill great pride in you. And you also understand that room must be made in your estate plan to address what becomes of them.

Give away, donate and sell

It is a good idea to get things in order, disclosing to your beneficiaries and heirs of your intentions. Ignoring the fate of these collections only brings added burden to surviving family members. In determining what to do, you may consider the following strategies – all of which have certain tax ramifications:

  • Give them to your heirs and beneficiaries: You can do so while still alive. However, you must remember that some of these collectibles do not provide the same meaning and significance to others. That is why you must give them to the people who sincerely want to possess them. In some instances, with a will, you may have to divide these assets while also providing an endowment to help maintain them.
  • Sell them: Finding the right person or organization to purchase your collections will take time for you or your executor. An auction may be a solid choice to accomplish this, and it is possible to do so during your lifetime. Last year, longtime baseball broadcaster Vin Scully sold a vast collection of primarily Dodgers memorabilia, earning more than $2 million, earmarked for a trust.
  • Donate them: Many organizations such as museums, nonprofits and universities are solid candidates to receive donations. In these situations, you may have to provide additional monetary donations for these groups to store and maintain these collections.

Careful planning surrounding your valuable collectibles goes a long way toward a resolution. Perhaps your heirs want them or perhaps they do not. But as long as you know that these assets land in the hands of people or organizations that can cherish them and benefit from them as much as you did, you likely will be more than satisfied.