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Include pieces of art in an estate plan

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2020 | Estate Planning |

When creating an estate plan, you must include all the assets you own. If you forget to include items, it could delay the distribution of your estate and lead to conflict among family members over who gets those items. One of the assets that people often overlook is their artwork.

Art could be more valuable than you think

Seek expert help to have your pieces of art valued. They may be worth much more than you think. Be sure to keep all the documentation together in a safe place. Photo records help people identify the objects you are referring to.

Here are three ways you could deal with the artwork you own when estate planning:

  • Put it in a trust: By placing art pieces in a trust, you can help them avoid probate. You can also prevent the need to pay estate taxes. Once put in a trust, they are no longer considered part of your estate.
  • Give it away: Consult an estate planning attorney to understand the yearly limits for gifting things to family members tax-free. If your pieces are of significant national or local interest, you could also choose to pass them to a museum or public gallery.
  • Put it up for sale: Sometimes, the only way to assess the value of a piece of art is to see what someone is willing to pay for it. If you do this, you can then share the money among your beneficiaries. Seek advice as to what taxes would be payable on the sale or transfer.

Remember that particular pieces of art may have sentimental value to individual family members. You might decide that this matters more than the financial value of a work.

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