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Planning for a collection to be left to heirs

Florida residents who own special collections may be interested in including them in their estate plans. Leaving a collection to one or more heirs may be included in a last will and testament. However, there may be benefits in giving away beloved items while an individual is still living. Determining personal goals for a particular collection may help.

It may be important to an avid collector that a specific set of belongings remain together, making it important to consider which heir would embrace the same goals. It is possible that items in a collection hold special significance for specific heirs. While these items may be listed in a will, it may more enjoyable to gift them in person. Estate planning experts emphasize that face-to-face giving can be particularly rewarding for a donor. In the case of valuable collections, giving items to heirs during one's life may reduce the value of the estate, leading to a lower estate tax in the future. It is important to understand the worth of collections that may impact the value of an estate, having appraisals conducted at least every five years to update an estate plan.

Discussing priorities with heirs may provide additional direction in determining how to distribute collections. An heir who is particularly attached to a collection or items within it may appreciate receiving these beloved belongings as a remembrance. However, managing a collection may be impractical for another heir. Some potential beneficiaries may be more interested in monetary gifts than in property items. Determining how belongings will be allocated through an estate plan may reduce the potential for hard feelings and difficulties for family members later.

A plan for the distribution of assets such as collections is an important part of the estate planning process. A lawyer experienced in these matters may offer various ideas for determining how and when these belongings will be distributed to heirs.

Source: Kiplinger, "Leaving a Collection to Your Heirs", Vickie Elmer, April 25, 2014

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