Woman holding a collectable antique pottery vase

If you’re looking for an estate planning attorney near me,” it’s probably because you have much to think through when it comes to your individual estate. From keeping track of beneficiary designations to planning for a personal collection, multiple factors go into helping yourself and your loved ones with your estate plan.

Whether you collect antiques, coins, comic books, musical instruments, or something else, you’ve dedicated a lot of time, money and energy to your collections, it’s important that your estate plan addresses what to do with your collection when something happens to you.

Since you’re the one with all the knowledge about your collection, it can be a big mistake to assume that your loved ones will appreciate it or want to care for it as you have. Further, since your loved ones likely aren’t as knowledgeable about your collection, they may not know how to properly maintain it or are vulnerable to be swindled if they ever try to sell the collection.

What to Do with Collections in Estate Planning

Many possible issues can come up with North Carolina estate planning, collections, and antiques. Ownership concerns, loved ones who disagree on what should happen with it, and a lack of knowledge about storing or preserving items can all become problems for your loved ones. Thankfully, you can do some advanced work after searching for an “estate planning attorney near me” to find the right NC estate planning lawyer to assist you.

Depending on your kind of collection, unique issues might apply. For example, if you own guns, you’ll want to ensure they are all stored safely and properly with the right paperwork nearby. 

For a wine collection, you’ll need to be aware of some state and federal laws around alcohol distribution. Although NC allows for a one-time permit of alcoholic drinks because they were received in an inheritance, this same rule does not apply in every state. The person creating the estate plan and the person receiving this inheritance should also be aware of the additional concerns.

What about an art collection? If you wish to leave the art collection to a museum or a family member, that art should be appraised so that the estate executor can leave behind good records about items of value. If the testator created the art directly, this gets treated as “ordinary income property” for tax purposes. However, if the art was created by someone else, documents are needed to support the validity and value of the artwork. Much like wine, art collection storage is important to protect the pieces’ integrity, and loved ones might not automatically realize the storage requirements.

What Tools Should Be Used for Collections?

When including a collection as part of your estate, it pays to be detail-oriented. You’ll want to lay out what is and isn’t in the collection, any paperwork supporting when it was obtained, its authenticity, and its value, and information on how it should be distributed. 

While a will is the easiest way to list your property, it’s not the best option when planning for a collection. Imagine, for example, that you wrote in your will that you’d like your art collection shared among your three adult children. What does “shared” mean? How will they divide that up? What if the children don’t agree on whether the art should be kept in their homes versus sold or donated? What if none of the children wants your collection or can’t agree on getting it appraised? What if one of them is attached to pieces that the others want, too? You can easily see how problems abound that can fray family relationships and slow down North Carolina probate.

By working with an estate planning lawyer in advance and using a tool such as a revocable living trust to protect your interests, you can streamline the transfer of these assets and include specific instructions for the handling and distribution of your collection.

Most people who own a collection haven’t thought about the best solution for transferring their assets just yet and might not even know whether they have friends or family members who want those items. Since you might have to pivot your plans based on those answers, make sure you discuss with an experienced NC estate planning lawyer as soon as possible. The support of an attorney gives you peace of mind that your collection will be in good hands if something happens to you, and it removes the burden or concern you loved ones might have about taking over your collection.

If you have a collection you’ve worked to procure and protect, do the same with your estate planning by choosing to work with a dedicated estate planning lawyer. Contact our offices today to learn more about your options for your beloved collection. 

Carolina Family Estate Planning Will Help You Get Your Ducks in a Row

If you’re searching for an “estate planning attorney near me” to find a qualified North Carolina estate planning firm to help you with collections and antiques, Carolina Family Estate Planning’s experienced, caring, and dedicated team is ready to serve you. Schedule a needs assessment call at 919-443-3035 or complete our online form to set up a vision meeting today. 

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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.