Collectibles: Remember To Include Them In Your Estate Plan To Avoid Probate

March 21, 2012 by Mitchell A. Port

Whether you own stamps, coins, art or other collectibles, remember to include them in your California Will or living trust so your executor or trustee knows what you intend to have happen to those items when you die.

A New York Times article offered advice about what to do with this kind of stuff.

Selling the property is one option. You can sell the items during your lifetime or direct in your Will or living trust that the items be sold after your death. Auctions, outright sales and ebay sales are some of the ways to address your property.

Passing it on to your friends or family through your Will or trust may make sense under certain circumstances. If you desire to keep your collection intact, then passing it on in its entirety will help accomplish that goal.

Giving property away by making lifetime gifts that take advantage of your ability under federal gift tax laws to give away up to $13,000 per recipient will go a long way toward making sure that those who want certain articles of yours will actually get them while at the same time minimizing your exposure to estate taxation on the property you decide to keep. Making charitable gifts is another way to give away property but consult a tax attorney about the application of federal gift tax laws to your gift. Finally, you can give property away using sophisticated estate planning devices which take advantage of the federal tax laws on questions of leverage, discounts, retention of a remainder or lead interest, generation skipping, dynastic planning and the like.

California's probate process covering property to which you own title may be needed to pass title to those to whom you left the asset. Call a probate lawyer to ask your questions about these and other probate issues that you may have.