Collecting has long been a popular hobby in the United States. Whether your collection includes a set of 1898 Trans-Mississippi U.S. stamps, a 1928 Ford Model A, a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, or a more esoteric find like an Alpha Black Lotus (from the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering) you are in good company. These items are valuable for both sentimental and monetary reasons, so they can be the most disputed parts of a person’s estate.
When people own valuable collectible items without a detailed estate plan, issues arise after their death. The Probate system in California handles the transfer of personal property, but offers little guidance or assistance to family members or friends who take on the responsibility of administering an estate. If not carefully planned for, collections can be unintentionally divided, lost, destroyed, or even worse, sentimental heirlooms may need to be sold for a fraction of their personal value to pay estate creditors or taxes.
An estate plan, including both a pour-over Will and a Revocable Living Trust, allows you to specifically control how your property will pass after your death. This can be of great interest to collectors with valuable property, but can be just as beneficial for family heirlooms, or other sentimental items that you wish to leave to a specific family member. If you have no family members who share your interest in collecting, you can leave them to a charitable organization that understands the value.
Whether you are a Philatelist, a Numismatist, or simply value your family heirlooms, an experienced estate planning attorney can assist you with creating a plan to fulfill your goals for your property and help ensure that it will pass to someone who values it as much as you do.