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Estate Planning for Collectibles

A lawyer friend recently told me, “the best advice a friend gave me when I got divorced was to let my wife have all the personal property because it’s all easily replaceable.”  He went on to say he had told his ex all he wanted was his car and his dog and she could have all the stuff in the house. He said he got home one day and literally the only thing in the house was the dog. However, he says it was the best decision he made.

Estate planning and trust administration with collectibles and other personal property might be slightly more complicated but don’t let the “stuff” get in the way of you completing your estate plan! That is, plan for your stuff but don’t over plan for it!  Likewise keep this in mind in a trust or estate administration setting after the death of a loved one.  Fight for your mom and dad’s stuff after death but don’t over fight for it.  Use some common sense so that you don’t just spend more in attorney fees than the stuff is worth. Remember of the words of my lawyer friend after his divorce.  Get the dog because you can’t replace a good dog but don’t worry about the TVs, computers and stuff because it’s easy to replace all that!

When you do your estate plan get it done. Don’t worry about every last piece of jewelry. Let’s get the BIG ticket items planned for first and then we can go back and update it to deal with the smaller stuff.  Don’t worry about assigning every last item in your house to one of your kids because they will sort it out. 99% of the time the kids get along and sort everything out without major incidents.

If you are considering hiring a lawyer after the death of a loved one to fight for personal property think of the monetary value and think what the actual sentimental value is. For monetary value I am talking for you to go down to Wal-Mart and buy a new one. For sentimental value I am talking about your love for the actual item in question and NOT you being upset with your brother for doing something mean to you when you were 10 years old. That’s not sentimental value. That’s personal.  I want to fight for my clients but I want to make sure my clients come to the table with the best mind set possible.

Whether it’s planning for death and dealing with a mess after death we can help you sort out issues related to personal property and collectibles!   We are California estate and trust attorneys and we are here to help you!

-John

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