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Phone: 201-345-3018

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Addressing collections within estate planning

Many New Jersey residents have amassed impressive collections. Some focus on more traditional items, such as stamps or coins, while others favor collections of a more esoteric nature. In fact, some collections are so unique as to lead others to wonder why anyone would choose to hunt for such unusual items. When considering how to pass these collections on to loved ones, individuals have a number of estate planning options.

For many, the value of a collection is not understood by those who stand to inherit the items. This leads to a concern that one's heirs could sell a collection for far less than it is worth, or even dispose of the collection as though it were trash. When an individual has spent years or even decades building a valued collection, this risk is hard to bear.

A solution lies in having the collection professionally appraised, so that heirs can be made aware of the full value of the pieces within. From that point forward, the owner must determine if he or she wants to pass on the collection as an intact unit, or divide the items among multiple heirs. If only one heir has any interest in the collection, other assets can be passed down to other heirs to compensate for the lost value within the collection. It is even possible to set up a trust to provide for the care, storage and other necessities of keeping a collection in good order.

There is no reason why a New Jersey resident should worry that his or her treasured collection will not be properly handled after his or her death. By using the estate planning tools mentioned here, it is possible to educate heirs on the value of a collection, and to ensure that one's loved ones receive the full value of a lifetime of amassing a valued collection. If all else fails, simply having this conversation with one's family will let a collector know whether to pass on a collection or simply liquidate it and invest the proceeds.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "An Estate Plan for Your Treasures", Veronica Dagher, Oct. 30, 2014

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