Completing one’s estate plan provides a wonderful sense of relief for many in New Jersey. Once the distribution of assets has been structured and all incapacitation documents are in place, many people rest assured that they have adequately prepared for the inevitable. Often, however, there are holes within a given estate planning package. For many, one of the most frequently overlooked matters involves how a personal belongings will be passed on to loved ones.
Many people spend a significant portion of time amassing collections. Whether a treasured collection of salt-and-pepper shakers or a body of valuable artwork, collections hold a great deal of personal value for their owners. Determining how to pass on a collection can be a challenge, especially for those who feel strongly that the collection should be kept together.
The first step should be a family meeting in which loved ones are asked which items of personal property they would like to have, when the time comes. Without placing undue pressure on any individual, this is a good way to find out if a loved one has a particular desire to own and maintain the collection. It is likewise a means of determining if no one has any interest in doing so.
In the event that there is not a good candidate for passing on a collection, it may be worth considering giving the items to a museum or civic organization. There may be a group who would cherish the items within a collection and make them available for public viewing. This can be accomplished through specific language within one’s will, or by structuring a trust to hold the items and dictate how they will be used. This is an area of estate planning in which New Jersey residents have a range of choices, and can find a solution to fit their unique needs.
Source: memphisdailynews.com, “Estate Planning and Your Collectibles“, Ray and Dana Brandon, April 16, 2015