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Considering art when planning one's estate

People in Florida planning for the future may wish to consider how to handle valuable art and collectibles when drafting wills, trusts and other key estate documents. When people collect valuable art and other items, they may consider these to be not mere personal property but important investments for the future. In fact, in one Deloitte study, over 80 percent of art collectors said that they considered their collections to be an investment. Because there are specific tax and other laws that apply to this type of property, it can be important to consider how best to distribute them as part of one's estate.

The IRS considers collectibles to include artwork, rugs, antiques, gems and metals, stamps and coins and valuable alcoholic beverages, as well as other types of tangible property. It can be difficult to properly value some of these items, especially when the market is limited or when they carry significant sentimental value. In addition, heirs can sometimes dispute among themselves about the distribution of these types of assets. Obtaining appraisals of all of these items during one's lifetime can be an important part of the estate planning process.

By clearly delineating the value of these items, a person can also help to avoid wastage; when heirs or executors are unaware of the value of an item, it could wind up sold below market or even donated to charity. In addition, this kind of expert appraisal can also help to address income tax issues that can arise for beneficiaries, especially if they later sell a collectible item.

People with significant art or collectible holdings have many questions to consider when making a plan for their distribution. An estate planning attorney may be able to sort through these issues and develop a clear plan for the distribution of valuable items.

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