Every place I travel I buy a special coffee mug.
In fact, it’s rare that I meet a coffee mug that I don’t like. Like me, many people are passionate about collecting things for fun or enjoyment. We also tend to collect things because it strikes a sentimental chord. Whether it be baseball cards, stamps, coins, or coffee mugs, these collections hold both sentimental, and sometimes, monetary value too.
However, often, individuals may be unaware of how to incorporate these valuables into their estate plan—who will receive these prized belongings once they pass away and how to reduce tension in case multiple family members want the collection. When thinking about family heirlooms or collections, consider the following:
Whether Such Items Will be Kept or Converted
Many antiques and collections have sentimental value and because of this, individuals may overestimate their monetary value. In preparing your estate plan, you should decide whether you would like items to be sold after your death—and the money given to a loved one—or if the item(s) should be kept and passed on to someone or some entity (i.e. charity). Regardless, it is important to be clear in your estate plan whether the items are to be sold or to be passed down to someone. If the latter, it may be helpful to explain the importance of the collection, so the person receiving the item will know its value, whether monetary or sentimental.
Be Upfront About Your Intentions
If you choose not to sell certain items upon death, it is important to talk to your family and loved ones about what valuables they will be receiving. While this may be a difficult conversation, being upfront will benefit loved ones in the future.
How so? Loved ones will not be thrown off by the contents of the will. This will reduce family fighting and hostility about the contents of the estate plan, and lead to less tension after the person’s passing. In addition, the family can then be further involved in the estate planning process. For instance, if one of your children is interested in inheriting an item, like a family heirloom, then they can voice this now rather than being upset if they learn later that they did not receive the item.
Drafting an estate plan—especially when antiques, valuables, and collections are involved—may seem complicated and stressful, but we are here to help. If you or a loved one wants to incorporate their sentimental collection into their estate plan, contact Scarola Law, LLC. We will work with you to ensure your estate plan meets your needs and reduces your stress about the future.