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Tips for adding an art collection into your estate plan

If you are an art collector, odds are that your collection is one of the most valuable things that you own. Not only does it have a lot of sentimental value, but you have invested time and money into it. It could be worth more than your home. You absolutely need to make sure that you work it into your estate plan, along with your other assets.

To get started, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep accurate, up-to-date records. Every time you buy or sell a piece, make a note of it. Do not overlook anything or assume that you'll just take inventory eventually. Keep a running list.
  • Work with an art appraiser. No matter what you paid for a piece, never assume that's what it was worth. The values of art move up and down, just like real estate and other assets. You need to know the true value, especially when splitting it up between heirs and trying to do a fair job.
  • Talk to your children. If you're leaving the collection to them, find out of there is anything they especially want. You do not have to let them dictate the plan but can take their desires into account.
  • Consider the impact of major life events, like divorce. If you and your spouse created that collection together, does ending the marriage mean you lose a percentage of it and you need to update your estate plan?

At the end of the day, you must give careful consideration to your art collection, just as you would with other high-value assets, and you need to know how to draft the proper estate plan for your family.

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