For art collectors who started their collections during the 50’s and 60’s, many are finding that their collections now constitute a large part, if not the bulk of, their estate. As these collectors develop their estate plan, they’re running into specific issues that, though not unique to art collectors, are posing some difficulties as they determine how to divide their collections. Here are couple of tips you can use if you have a valuable art collection, or even a single work, and are struggling to determine how best to distribute it.
Tip 1: Leave children individual pieces, though not the bulk of your collection.
For many baby boomer collectors, their love of art is not always shared by their children. For those with large collections, the prospect of leaving their children a substantial portion of the collection may not be feasible as the child will not necessarily want to keep it in the family. In this situation, collectors can give each child a single piece to keep more as a memento than for any value it has acquired. If there is a significant difference in the appraised value of the gifts, you can offset the value of each piece with cash from your estate.
Tip 2: Tell your family about your plan.
If your children place significant value in your collection, or in particular pieces, you should develop your estate plan early and inform your children about it so there are no conflicts later on. Don’t let a particularly prized family piece lead to conflicts between your children. If you cannot decide how to distribute it between your family, speak to your estate planning attorney for more options.