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Collections require additional estate decisions

California residents who own collections of art, coins, cars and other valuables may be interested in how to leave them to heirs. There are several things to consider before deciding on a home for precious treasures. One of the first things for a collector to do is to discuss with family and friends any interest they may have in owning a collection or selected items. Appeal and lifestyle could drive the decision on who receives tangible items from a collection.

Timing is also a consideration. An individual can pass on $14,000 of cash or property free of gift taxes to another person each year. The threshold is $28,000 for a couple. Presenting valuables to heirs during the owner's life is a decision that some collectors make. In addition to the tax benefit, the giver has the pleasure of sharing the receiver's joy. This also provides an opportunity for the giver to let the recipient know about caring for and insuring the collectible. A donor may also have interest in communicating any long-term desire he or she may have for the treasures.

Values of collectibles change over time, so regular appraisals are important. Furthermore, if heirs are not interested in a collection, the owner may be interested in donating the items. This way the valuables may benefit a cause that is near to the holder's heart.

Along with important estate planning documents, consideration of how a valuable collection is passed on could be very significant to some individuals. An estate planning attorney can provide counsel regarding alternative ways to protect and preserve those assets.

Source: Kiplinger, "Leaving a Collection to Your Heirs", Vickie Elmer, April 25, 2014

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