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Tips for estate planning with a valuable art collection

Some art collectors in Ohio may fail to make an estate plan or might have one that plans insufficiently for the art collection. Some cannot decide to whom to leave their collection and put off making the decision until it is too late.

Unfortunately, failure to plan can lead to significant costs and family discord. There might be estate taxes on the collection, and the art might end up distributed to the family in a way that some feel is unfair. The estate could end up in litigation as a result. However, there are several steps people can take to prevent this. Probate can be simplified by placing the art in the ownership of corporate entities since this does not require that it all be retitled. The art might also be placed in a trust and passed to individuals or a charity, but it is important that this is done in a way that minimizes taxes.

Another important consideration is documentation. This prevents conflict and confusion about the provenance of the art. While there should be as much documentation as possible with each piece of artwork, a good general rule is that more documentation is required with older artwork or in cases where there is a greater distance between artist and owner. This documentation includes bills of sale, certificates of authenticity and insurance records.

Whether a person has a significant art or another type of collection, working with a lawyer to create an estate plan may be helpful. People may have a general idea of what they hope to do with an estate plan without knowing about all the tools that might be available. For example, a trust can be a versatile vehicle and may allow the creator to exert more or less control over how assets are distributed to heirs.

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Kroener Hale Law Firm
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Batavia, OH 45103

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