Individuals who are planning their estate in New York may have an easy time figuring out how to include assets like money, stocks and bonds in their plan. “Hard” assets like jewelry and artwork can be more difficult to include because they can’t be easily divided among beneficiaries, and their value is more difficult to determine. It is important not to overlook these types of assets even though they can make an estate plan more complex.
Finding out how much property is worth is a key first step when making estate planning decisions. Relying on purchase price for valuation will not work because personal property like art may have increased greatly in value over time. Even a first appraisal may be inaccurate if it was done several years ago. Finding a reputable appraiser is usually worth the time and money spent.
Another consideration is determining which heirs want which property. When multiple heirs want the same asset, it is important to figure out how it can be divided. If this is not possible, consider how other assets can be divided equally.
After determining value and deciding which heirs should inherit personal property, figure out which type of estate planning instruments to use. Putting the property in a trust is one option. If heirs may not understand the value of heirlooms like an art collection the best option may be to sell it and distribute the proceeds.
An estate planning lawyer may be able to help individuals who want to make sure their personal property gets passed on according to their wishes. Discussing which relative should get which items can be a difficult conversation to have, but it is essential to creating an effective estate plan. An attorney may be able to make the process easier by suggesting which estate planning instruments may fit the situation best and answering legal questions.