Planning for the future of collections after their owners have left this earthly life is the topic this week with Laurence C. “Larry” Zale.
Larry coined the term “legacy” planning for decisions that collectors need to make about their belongings. There are few serious collectors who can rely on heirs or executors to know what they have in mind for their collections, or who have the knowledge to properly manage them. Larry urged listeners to have conversations with those close to them and to make arrangements for collections should heirs not share the enthusiasm or intend to continue with the collection.
Collectors have three choices for their collections after they pass away. Choice one is the sale of the collection via an auction house, dealers or sales to other collectors. With sales come capital gains taxes, federal, state and local taxes as well. Choice two is a non-charitable beneficiary, generally the heirs of the estate. The third choice is to donate the collection to a charitable organization like a museum, library or other non-profit organization. Larry recommends talking with an experienced estate lawyer to plan and make the best decisions. Most trust and estate lawyers have worked with tangible objects like watches, sports memorabilia, coins, etc.
Collectors are taxed based on the value of the collection now, not on what was originally paid. Planning can help alleviate excess taxes. With planning, collectors and their estates can avoid paying more than they should.
To talk with Larry about your collection, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.