Certain types of assets require special planning. This might include assets of high monetary value, such as vintage cars, fine art, jewelry, or antiques. This might also include assets of strong sentimental value. Both types require careful and special planning. Whether or not they have a high value they are the types of items that represent deeply personal choices and deeply personal taste. More importantly, they are generally irreplaceable and cannot be duplicated or divided.
Make Sure They KNOW What They Get
Is that a chipped clay pot? Or a priceless antiquity? An early oil painting by a famous artist? Or a flea market reproduction? Oftentimes literal treasures can hide in plain sight, unknown to those without specialized knowledge.
It is a good idea to keep a detailed list of unusual assets, especially assets that are not apparently valuable on their face, as part of your planning for their disposition. Modern art, jewelry, cars, or antiques often require specialized knowledge in order to appreciate their full value. For highly specialized assets, it is best to ensure that you have clearly identified these special items so whomever is handling your estate knows exactly what they are dealing with. Even better, make sure you have updated appraisals in an easy to find place or a list of dealers and / or auction houses best positioned to sell the assets for the highest value or help value and distribute those items.
Finally, besides your estate planning purposes, you should keep updated appraisals for all of your specialized assets to ensure that all you have your assets properly insured.
Make Sure They GET What They Want
If one child loves grandma’s china & and the other has no interest, then why not make sure that grandma’s china goes to the child who will really appreciate it? Careful planning can help make sure that your personal and precious items go to those who most appreciate them. After all, monetarily valuable or not, these types of assets are usually those which are purchased according to your deeply personal taste, and therefore, not everyone is going to appreciate them the same way.
In addition, planning ahead as to who gets what can help avoid conflicts over who gets what in the future. It can be much easier to accept “Mom wanted her to have that,” versus “my sister got what I wanted.” Thinking carefully through these kinds of situations when you have time for thoughtful decisions can help prevent fractured relationships and years of hard feelings later. Later on, an executor or other professional making these decisions for themselves is not likely to understand the significant of these items.
Make Sure They WANT What They Get
If you are taking the time to put together a plan, it is worth taking the time to make sure that the people you are leaving things to want them. It can be hard to think about but things we so enjoyed, and spent so much money on, may not be to everyone else’s taste, or their space, or needs. So, what if your intended beneficiaries don’t want these specialized assets? It could be worthwhile to think outside the box.
If your children have very different taste in art than you, why gift them, for example, an art collection they will probably sell off? When, instead, it could be a significant and meaningful gift to a local museum and help establish or continue a legacy that you and your children can both enjoy; while your children could receive other cash or property. Taking time and trouble to think through these types of dispositions can present wonderful opportunities for meaningful planning fulfilling everyone’s goals.
As always, good planning and good professional help will lead to great results. If you have questions, you should always discuss your exact situation with your attorney.
Redding Law, PLLC intends this educational article to be an overview of a legal document, idea, or theory. The reader should note that this overview is specific to Texas and Texas laws and is not intended to be legal advice for any person or situation. To receive additional copies of this newsletter or permission to reprint any portion please contact Redding Law, PLLC.