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How does an art collection fit into a will?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2021 | Estate Planning

Individuals with significant and unique assets may need to consider several things with estate planning. Leaving monetary assets such as bonds, stocks or cash may not require specialized management, but when the testator has amassed an extensive art collection in a Texas home, the beneficiaries receiving the artwork may need guidance. Estate planning associated with artwork collections often involves additional steps.

Estate planning considerations for art collections

Putting all the various artwork into a will and directing who receives what is an essential step but not always a final one. Including information about related documents may help the beneficiaries, such as adding bill of sale documents to help establish ownership in case of disputes. Proving ownership might be necessary if someone wishes to sell the artwork.

Appraisal forms might be beneficial as well. Recent appraisals reveal the artwork collection’s worth, another useful aspect for those intending to sell. The appraisals may become necessary when planning to insure the art collection or dealing with tax matters.

The will’s text could reveal the location of the documents. Perhaps leaving copies in the attorney’s client file could make access to the records easier.

Discussing the art collection with beneficiaries in advance could prove wise. Someone who doesn’t want to see an art collection end up sold could determine which relatives would intend to keep the collection. Why leave a cherished collection to someone who prefers not to keep it?

Options for an art collection

Maybe the right step to take does involve selling the art collection. A will could mandate that the collection goes to an auction with the proceeds from the sale going to beneficiaries evenly. Artwork may lose its value if not cared for properly. Perhaps it makes sense to take the artwork out of the hands of those not capable of maintaining the collection.

Donating the artwork to a gallery or another entity is an option. Charitable and philanthropic giving could appear in a will’s directives. Performing research to determine the appropriate charitable recipient might be a component of the estate planning process.

An estate planning attorney may assist a client with writing a will and handling unique concerns. Those concerns may involve artwork or other specialized items.