Handling art and sentimental items when estate planning

by | Nov 8, 2018 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning can be a difficult process for New Yorkers when they are determining strategies to pass along their assets. What can make this even more complicated is when the assets go beyond the basic and tangible to that which is open to desire and interpretation. Specifically, that will include items like art, jewelry and goods that might not appear to be worth much when on the market, but have sentimental value to prospective heirs and can be subject to an intense dispute. Having assistance from a qualified law firm that specializes in complicated estate planning is a must in any situation, but is of great importance with these cases.

There are certain steps to take with properties that are hard to quantify. Understanding what the property is worth is a first step. This is truly independent of whether the testator would like to pass it to an heir or wants it sold. The market value should be known before anything else. When value is attached to an item, it puts a number to it so those involved understand what they are dealing with. This is critical with art and jewelry. The value of such items can vary depending on its market and how in demand it is. This should be known.

Certain heirs might want a specific item. This can be due to sentiment, financial goals or it being part of a collection. When there are separate heirs who want the item, the estate plan should account for how it is to be handled, especially when it is something that cannot be divided. Buyouts are an alternative to explore. The testator has a major say in these circumstances. When the assets are not liquid, the preferable alternative might be to simply pass the asset onto an heir rather than turning it into liquid assets by selling it. It can be placed into a trust or other device.

When crafting strategies for a comprehensive and fair estate plan, there will often be concerns as to certain items that will inevitably result in rancor among the heirs. To avoid this, it is wise to consult with a law firm that specializes in all areas of asset distribution and estate planning so there will be an amicable result after the person has died. Calling for help with this level of estate planning is the first thing the person should do to make sure there are no legal battles after death.