Estate planning should include a plan for what will become of your sports memorabilia collection once you’ve gone to the great top loader in the sky.
By: Laura du Toit
Assuming that you do not need an estate plan is one of the worst assumptions you can make and could cost your family loads of money in taxes and hours of frustration. The only people who can honestly say they would not benefit from an estate plan are those unfortunate enough to have no family or assets or property of their own, which would in fact represent a very small fraction of the population.
You will more than likely be surprised at the total value of your estate when once you actually start documenting your assets. Your estate includes everything you own – investments, insurance policies, real estate, jewelry, vehicles, cash in the bank and even your coin or model aircraft collections or any other collectibles. What happens to everything in your estate after your death can be determined with a good estate plan.
Collecting is part and parcel of human nature and most of us are collectors of some kind. Some of us may own collections passed through generations or left to us by a friend or relative who felt that we are the chosen one to inherit their collection. Others among us may have started their own collection based on our own interest or passion for a collectible item and it may all have started as a hobby.
One thing all collections have in common is value – whether it is in monetary value or the pleasure and sentimental value of owning these collections. Either way, an important element of a collector’s overall estate planning is an art succession plan. The goal of such a plan is to preserve and distribute the collection to heirs with the least expense and confusion. Here are a few suggestions offered by collectors and art succession planners.
• Maintain a Proper Inventory of Your Collectibles
A comprehensive up-to-date inventory of the items in the collection should always be maintained by the collector.
Each and every purchase and sale transaction should be recorded and if available all documentation relating to the collection should be documented. This includes all Certificates of Authenticity, origins or sources of the collectibles and if sold all subsequent owners. Specially designed software is available if so required but if the collection is relatively small a simple spreadsheet should suffice.
• Have the Collection Valuated
The general rule for federal state, gift and income taxes is that property is transferred at its “fair market value”. Sometimes, the tax authorities will accept the buyer’s cost, or a recent sale, as evidence of fair market value. Most often, however, fair market value will need to be determined by an official appraisal of the collection. If your collection’s monetary value is of any significance then an appraisal or valuation for each item in the collection may be required by the IRS. The appraiser will be required to meet the standards set by the IRS. One of the most important considerations in planning for the disposition of art and collectibles is the correct valuation of the collectibles as incorrect valuations for tax purposes could result in additional taxes and penalties being imposed.
• Discuss your Art Succession Plan with your family
Discussing estate planning and art succession planning with your family can not be done without talking about death and money – two very sensitive issues that most of us prefer to avoid. When an aging parent discusses death with their children it is too close for comfort and they shy away from this topic pointing the discussion in a different direction.
A sudden death or incapacitating illness may cause you to have missed the opportunity to ensure that your collectibles are distributed according to your wishes and it is imperative that your succession plan be discussed openly with your family. If it is your wish that your collection remain intact then you must know which, if any, of your family would be interested in inheriting and maintaining your collection. If you discover, or are aware, that none of your immediate family shares your interest in your collectibles alternative plans must be made for the succession of your collection. Museums, fellow collectors or charity organizations are options to consider but proper planning is essential to ensure that any allowable tax benefit is optimized in your succession plan.
A good financial adviser will be best able to advise you of all the advantages or pitfalls of the various options available and the tax implications of each. The most important step is the first one – realizing that very few of us do not need an estate plan and that collectors need to include an art succession plan in their estate plan.
Article Source: http://www.collectibles-articles.com