Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Including collectibles in an estate plan

When people in New York plan for the future of their family and their assets, they may be concerned about how best to pass on valuable collectible objects like artwork and memorabilia. These items are not the only types of personal property that may have a high financial value; they can also hold significant amount of sentimental value to their owners as well as to others in the family. In a study by Deloitte, over 80 percent of art collectors noted that they considered their collections to be a valuable investment. Just like other types of investments, estate plans need to take proper steps to deal with the distribution of artwork and collectibles.

Collectibles have a special status in U.S. tax law, which can also mean special consideration for these items during estate planning. The IRS classifies artwork, rugs, antiques, stamps, coins and gems, among other items, as collectibles, and special tax laws can apply to these items. In addition to concerns about taxation of beneficiaries, selling these items and receiving a fair market value can be particularly difficult in some cases.

One important task when dealing with collectibles as part of an estate planning process is to determine a correct valuation of these items. While many of these items may have sentimental value as well, their financial value is critical to planning for their distribution in the estate. In many cases, family members may differ about the valuation of these items, and an expert opinion can help to resolve these issues.

When dealing with unique properties like artworks and collectibles, estate planning documents should take care to address them appropriately. An attorney might work with people planning for the future to develop wills, trusts and other documents that properly distribute these assets in a way that can maximize their value to the beneficiaries.

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