An important part of estate planning and probate is verifying and protecting the assets within an estate. It may be relatively easy to secure real estate and keep track of bank accounts, but for those with unusual or easily transportable valuables, extra precautions may be necessary to prevent them from disappearing before the heirs can obtain them. Items such as art, jewelry, weapons, coins and other collectibles may require a few extra steps in one’s estate planning.
It is easy for certain transportable items to get lost or taken. Naturally, someone in Pennsylvania with valuable items may take precautions against this, such as purchasing a safe, using an alarm or storing the items in a safe deposit box. Purchasing insurance is also a smart way to protect one’s investment. However, documentation may be the key to including such items in an estate plan.
Any proof one can provide of the authenticity, value and ownership of the items can spare the heirs frustration and time. During probate, it often takes intense investigation to rule out fraud and reach a reasonable valuation. Therefore, thorough documentation, appraisals and pictures can be a welcome addition to a will or trust, especially if the estate executor must liquidate the items or include them in estate tax returns.
When creating an estate plan, it is important to have as much information as possible about the options for protecting unusual or difficult to value assets. Pennsylvania owners of these assets may also wish to understand how the items’ values will affect the estate’s responsibility for estate taxes and other issues that may impact the heirs. Reaching out to a skilled estate planning attorney is a wise step.