If you have spent a significant amount of time amassing collectibles in your life, it is equally important to think about how you will protect these after you pass away. You may have specific intentions for your collectibles, such as handing them down to a family member, gifting them to a museum, or donating them to charity. In all of these circumstances, you must be prepared to have those items appraised. Be aware that collectibles and artwork are subject to the same gift or estate taxes as any other asset, and you need to understand the value of the asset to conduct proper planning.
Once you have a baseline idea of the appraised value, you can also make better decisions regarding your estate planning process. You might decide to donate something to charity either during life or death, for example, or decide to sell it now. In many cases, your perceived value of a collectible or piece of art may not be in line with the actual real market value.
Get a copy of any appraisals and if you’re concerned about accuracy, get a second opinion. In some cases, appraisers will have substantial experience in a particular area that makes it easier for you to justify a high price tag on an item. This might be important down the road when your personal representative is transferring or selling those assets.
Always work with a qualified expert to help you appraise your items. Get documentation from this expert after the appraisal has been completed so that you have confidence in storing this along with your estate planning materials. A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can help to answer many of your questions and assist you with crafting a customized estate plan for your needs.