Family heirlooms are often some of your most prized possessions. This can often mean that they can be a source of conflict and strife for other family members if they are not properly addressed in your estate plan. Who will get the family jewelry, the art collection, or other valuables, for example? Let us review four ways to minimize the risk of complications and ensure that your family heirlooms are passed in accordance with your wishes.
1. Understand the value of the heirloom. One of the most important things you should know when evaluating how to incorporate your family heirloom into your estate plan may be the value of that asset. Some assets are simpler to assign a value than others, but it can be important to at least have a general idea of its worth so that you can understand potential tax implications and strategize accordingly. Additionally, if you have multiple beneficiaries, for example, you may want to ensure you are distributing your estate evenly and understanding the value of each asset will help accomplish that goal.
2. Determine how to distribute the heirloom. Once you understand the value of your asset, you should consider coming up with a plan regarding how you will distribute it to your beneficiaries. Sometimes, it may make sense to leave the asset through your will. Other times, it may make sense to establish a trust, gift the asset during your lifetime, or utilize a variety of other estate planning vehicles.
3. Write down your wishes. Make sure that no matter how you decide to distribute the family heirloom, you expressly provide for it in your estate planning documents.
4. Consult an estate planning expert. The best way to ensure that you have all of your bases covered when incorporating family heirlooms into your estate plan may be to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Your attorney can help you assess value, strategize to avoid negative tax consequences, and confirm that your plan is written into properly executed estate planning documents. Your attorney can also help you address and prevent any conflicts that you believe may arise between family members regarding access to your family heirlooms.
For assistance creating a comprehensive estate plan which accounts for your family heirlooms, our office is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.