Throughout your life, you have been fortunate. Your hard work paid off, and your savvy investments allowed you to spend many comfortable years doing what you enjoy. Others in your position may have traveled, built their dream home or lavished their wealth on their families. While you may have done these things too, you also took the time to acquire valuable objects.
Whether you have a variety of antiques or a collection of exclusive works of art, you know that you must make a plan for your treasures. As part of your estate, these objects may require special treatment to ensure they end up in the appropriate hands after you pass away.
Protecting your collections for your heirs
If you have a business, real estate or other investments in your estate, you may have already taken steps to protect them from probate and taxes. However, providing this same protection may not be as easy for other types of assets. For example, coin collections, jewelry, antiques or baseball cards can be difficult to keep track of, valuate and prove ownership. Some important factors to consider if you have such items in your estate include the following:
- Making sure family members or others do not steal items from your collection before your executor can distribute them to your heirs
- Organizing documentation such as receipts, photographs, condition reports and proof of authenticity
- Creating an inventory of your collections, including notations about who gets which piece, and keeping your heirs informed when the inventory changes
- Obtain appraisals for your valuables and including the documentation in your estate planning files to save your heirs the delay of having to seek appraisals before they can obtain their inheritances
Obviously, you will want to take every precaution to keep your valuables safe and protected. This may include the use of safety deposit boxes, alarms and any other appropriate measures to avoid the potential for someone to walk away with a loved one's inheritance. You may also consider purchasing insurance on your valuables. Of course, an effective way to make sure your loved ones receive their inheritance is to carefully plan your estate.
Because of the complex and delicate nature of estate planning, it may not be enough to contact just any attorney. Instead, you will want to know the legal professional you entrust with your estate has experience and success in this practice area. A skilled Massachusetts estate planning attorney will guide you through the options that are most appropriate for your circumstances.