How to include art in an estate plan

When affluent New York residents buy a work of art, they don’t just do it for the financial reward. In addition to potential monetary gain, they also buy art for their personal enjoyment. Therefore, wealthy individuals may hold onto their collections until passing on. Ideally, an individual will account for artwork in an estate plan, but this is not always the case.

One of the drawbacks of not accounting for art in an estate plan is the potential for family members to quarrel over who receives it. It is also possible that the estate or a beneficiary will pay more in taxes than necessary. Those who don’t want to give pieces of art to a family member could choose to leave it to a charity. It can also be left to a trust that may be overseen by an outside party.

Art collectors should be sure that there are adequate records for each piece. A bill of sale or other documents could be crucial in proving an individual actually owns a work of art. It can also be important to prove that a work is real when valuing it as part of a person’s estate. Regardless of how much money a person has, it can be a good idea for that individual to regularly review an estate plan with a professional.

The estate planning process is one that anyone who has assets may benefit from. The same is generally true of anyone who has minor children or adult children with special needs. Those who have an existing estate plan may find it advisable to have their attorney review the documents periodically to ensure that they continue to reflect the maker’s financial and family situations.

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