Forbes’ recent article, “Astute Estate Planning For Art, Antiques And Valuable Collectibles,” says that personal property items, like a coin collection or artwork, can pose an added degree of estate planning complexity for several reasons.
Tracking. Personal property items are easily “lost” or misplaced. To combat this, use inventory software or keep copious records. You should also retain receipts, appraisals and other imprimaturs and bona fides of provenance.
Assignment and Transfer. Since personal property, like coin collections, can “walk off,” it’s smart to make certain that all applicable parties, such as heirs, are informed of inventory lists or other tracking methods, with clear instructions on who gets what. You can even add in your will an addendum “Exhibits A-Z,” to make sure that nothing gets lost. Photographs, serial numbers, and other identifying data can be added for more fungible items, like firearms.
Security and Insurance. Use precautions like safes, safety deposit boxes and alarm systems for your tangibles because transportable valuables present greater risks of theft and fire/disaster. There might be different insurance rules based on the item. You may need separate deductibles, endorsements, riders and proofs of location and ownership to have proper insurance coverage.
Documentation. Particularly for art and important antiques, it is vital to have documentation that supports authenticity and records provenance. This can include certificates of authenticity, bills of sale, condition reports, artists’ notes, and photographs, along with appraisals and insurance reports. A gap in documentation can result in challenges in establishing provenance and authenticity, which can then impact the value or subsequent sale process of the items.
Valuation. Most personal property is in a very illiquid market, and the price is very much whatever the market will bear. Specialized knowledge may be needed to arrive at a fair price. If you have a trusted appraiser for particular items, make their contact information accessible.
Estate Tax Issues. Retain accurate inventories to make certain that all property is properly accounted for if an estate tax return is due. It’s not uncommon for these items to be “forgotten” at tax time since, unlike securities, bank accounts and real estate, the IRS can’t easily track estate ownership of the assets and whether or not they’re taken by members of the family.
Reference: Forbes (April 8, 2019) “Astute Estate Planning For Art, Antiques And Valuable Collectibles”