Make a Plan for your Prized Collection

Many people love to collect, and those collections can end up being incredibly valuable later on in life. Whether you have a case of Elvis memorabilia or a stack of baseball cards, your collection will grow in value as time goes on. So what are you going to do with this large and cherished collection when you pass away? For some, a son or daughter may already be eager to inherit a collection, but for many children the massive amount of stuff may not be welcome. For example, a father left his daughter a Victorian home filled with collections in Berkeley, California. The daughter weeded through the stacks of comic books and match books and ended up selling all the valuable items for about $30,000. It took her two years to sort through all of the items, and she had no desire to keep or preserve them at her father’s death.

A New York Times columnist writes that this is what happens to many collections. The collector spends his or her life creating a masterpiece of memorabilia, only to have it sold at minimal prices at his or her death. If you have a collection, then you may want to think long and hard about how it should be dealt with in your future. A collection can be sold, passed on, or given away but there are certain stipulations. Taxes may be tagged on a sale, and there may not be a family member or friend who truly prizes your collection as you have.

Sandy Paschal has been collecting Department 56 villages for years, and has shelves and shelves of the intricately sculpted holiday scenes. She told the New York Times that she is worried that the collection will eventually wind up in a garage sale. She has over 600 buildings form Department 56 and hundreds of figurines. Paschal keeps the villages displayed in a room in her Atlanta home all year round, and then disperses them to warm up the house at Christmastime. She says that her grandchildren are interested in the small houses, and she hopes that they can gain enough appreciation for them to take them into their own homes one day.

Paschal has gotten her collection appraised multiple times. She says that the houses peaked at $150,000. They are still worth over $100,000. If you have a collection like Sandy Paschal’s, your first step should be to get it appraised just like she did. By knowing the value of what you own, you will be able to better determine where the items should go. Sometimes the value of an item rises once the creator passes away or once the item is discontinued. For example, a Thomas Kinkade collector will probably be able to get more money for the paintings now than when the esteemed painter was alive. Other items may depreciate in value, and then rise again in later years.

An art advisor at Citi Private Bank told the New York Times that she has a client with an art collection that is valued at over $500 million. She says that the client has not made provisions for the collection, and that could create significant problems later on in life. One option when it comes to collections is to sell. If you are sure that your children and grandchildren don’t want a collection, then sell it to a person that will. Sometimes you can even sell a collection to a museum or another place where it will be placed on display for all to marvel at.

You may also want to think about passing on a collection. Only do this if you are sure that you have a family member that is willing to care for and potentially add to your collection. Oftentimes, passing on a collection proves to be pointless if the recipient simply sells it off after obtaining it. Passing on a collection can be expensive, and you may need to pay taxes on the items. You can also consider willing the collection to a museum. This would be a donation.

While there are still taxes on donations, they are not typically as stringent. Collectibles normally come with their own tax, so you will want a probate attorney to help you as you determine the best destination for your collection. Find a probate attorney today to discuss all of the details involving your collection and determine whether it is best to sell, will, or donate the items that you have worked so hard to amass over the years!