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Estate planning for collectibles

Estate planning for people living in Colorado as well as the rest of the country requires careful attention to multiple issues. Common considerations include the distribution of assets after death, establishing trusts, choosing an executor and end-of-life planning. One issue that sometimes can be overlooked is what happens to collectibles after their owner dies.

Many attorneys have noted that the distribution of personal items with minimal value, such as dishes, clothing, silverware and knickknacks, can often trigger family disputes due to sentimental attachments and old resentments. These tensions can become more extreme when personal items can be resold for significant amounts of money. These items may include jewelry made from precious stones and metals, designer clothing, vintage wine or other collectible items.

Unfortunately, when some couples and individuals plan their estates, they may fail to account for the distribution of their personal and collectible items. This can create difficulty for executors who may have to balance the desires of family members with the need to sell collectibles so that their value can be added to the assets of the estate. In some cases, the deceased may not have been aware of an item's value, resulting in further confusion as the executor attempts to obtain an accurate valuation of the piece.

Anyone who is about to engage in estate planning may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. A lawyer may be able to assist in evaluating the client's needs and may recommend steps like having certain personal items appraised. An attorney may also be able to provide advice in cases where there is a risk of family tension over the distribution of personal property.

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