Estate planning for assets that are unique, such as antiques, artwork or collectibles requires special attention and care.
When planning for your estate it is important to know the value of your assets. That way you can make sure everything is distributed between your family members in the proportions you want.
The value is easy to determine for financial accounts. It is also easy for things that are routinely bought and sold in open markets such as cars. However, there are many other items in your estate that are more difficult to value.
Artwork, for example, normally does not receive a specific value until someone purchases it at an auction. Other unique items that can be equally difficult to value include antiques, some collectibles and vacation homes. Planning for these items requires some extra steps as the Cleveland Jewish News discussed in “Managing unique assets means obtaining appraisal.”
If you want to know the value of these assets for estate planning purposes, you will need to have them appraised by an expert. After you pass away and they become part of your estate, they will likely need to be appraised again for tax purposes. You can go without appraising them for planning purposes, if you want. However, it will make planning more difficult.
Another thing to consider is whether you want unique objects to pass to your heirs through a will. This will likely make their values publicly known through the probate process. That public knowledge can be avoided by using a trust instead.
Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (March 15, 2018) “Managing unique assets means obtaining appraisal.”