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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > Artwork, Antiques, and Other Collectibles Require Special Attention in Estate Planning

Artwork, Antiques, and Other Collectibles Require Special Attention in Estate Planning


Many people pursue collecting with a passion. Items that might pique a person’s interests can range from expensive cars, original artwork, and heirloom antiques to collections of stamps, coins, dolls, dishware, or other household items.  Even if you only think of collecting as a minor hobby, you can still accumulate a significant number of pieces. In some cases, these items become more valuable as time goes by or the more you add to the collection. Collectibles require special consideration as part of your estate planning to determine what their future worth might be and who will inherit them when you pass.

Determining the Value of Collectible Items

One of the most important aspects of including collectibles in your will and other estate planning documents is determining their current value. When dealing with artwork and antiques, places like Sotheby’s and smaller auction services can help with verifying authenticity and estimating the items worth.

You also need to consider what the future value is likely to be. For example, a piece of artwork could significantly increase if the artist becomes famous, stops creating new pieces, or passes away. The value of antiques may be swayed by current events and politics, or something as simple as trends in home fashion and decor.

With collectibles, the value of small or seemingly common items can be surprising. On sites such as eBay, people pay thousands of dollars for things such as old tools, toys, salt and pepper shakers, and outdated souvenirs. Do your research before including them in your will and in designating a beneficiary.

Keeping Items Together and in the Family

In some cases, you may suspect your hobby of collecting Barbie dolls or old war medals is not something your heirs will likely want to pursue. If you expect your collection will be sold after you pass, keep in mind that the value of these objects is likely to be tied to them remaining together. For example, giving each of your children a portion of your stamp collection is likely to decrease the amount it is worth. Instead, leave it to one person and make distributions of other items accordingly.

When dealing with artwork and antiques, there may be items you want preserved for future generations rather than having them be sold to the highest bidder. You may also want to consider donating these items to museums or historical societies. As they may be worth a good deal of money, remove any temptation to sell your beneficiaries may be feeling. Financial Times advises that a trust can be used to protect and preserve your collection, ensuring it ends up in the proper hands.

Contact Us Today for Help

At Cavallo & Cavallo, we help ensure your estate planning is done according to your wishes and that it leaves nothing to chance. To find out how we can assist you, call or contact our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys online today and request a consultation in our office.





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