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Avoid a legal battle over collectibles: Importance of appraisals

Those who are looking to bequest collectibles within an estate plan are wise to have an accurate appraisal completed for the items. Getting an accurate appraisal for these keepsakes can be difficult.

A recent case provides an example.

Details of the case: The case involves a set of collectible statues from artist Franz Goebel. The artist was known for his small porcelain figurines, many of which are currently worth thousands of dollars.

Difficulties with value: Determining the appropriate value for this type of art is difficult. The value will be impacted by a number of factors including the condition of the piece, the number in production, current market trends and availability. An expert will likely survey the collectible marketplace to help come up with an accurate value.

In this case, the owner asked the appraiser to determine the replacement value of a single statue by the artist known as the Collectible Hummel Apple Tree Boy. Based on the factors noted above, the appraiser was able to provide the owner with this information, estimating the piece to be worth several hundred dollars.

Tips for bequeathing collectibles: It is wise to have a conversation with beneficiaries before choosing how to bequeath collectibles. Some heirs will be interested in keeping the art while others are not. Having a better idea of interest and value can help to guide your bequeathing decisions.

Once you have decided how you wish to proceed, it is wise to get the decisions in writing. An attorney experienced with estate planning can help. It is important to note that due to the fluid nature of art’s value, it is often wise to revisit these discussions and make any needed adjustments to estate planning documents on a regular basis.

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