The topic of estate planning for memorabilia collectors came up recently as I sat with a new client. By his own admission, he and his wife had dragged their feet when it came to wills and trusts for years, and the biggest reason why he was finally pulling the trigger was that he was afraid of what might happen to his massive sports memorabilia collection if he didn’t.
“I’m getting up there in age,” he said with a laugh. “I want to have a plan for all this stuff I’ve collected over the past 40 years.”
Full disclosure: I’m not the biggest sports nut. But I know what a good collection looks like — and this gentleman had it. He showed me pictures of signed baseballs, game-used jerseys from the likes of Tom Brady and Reggie Jackson, and mint condition baseball cards encased in glass that he won at several auctions. There was also a personal story behind each item, including when he waited for hours in the pouring rain just to get an autograph from Larry Bird.
Naturally, he wanted his loved ones to know how special this stuff was, where to find it, and his wishes for what should happen next.
Estate Planning for Memorabilia — Help Your Loved Ones Know What You Have
Having a will or trust with a carefully crafted list of instructions gives you an incredible amount of control and peace of mind over what happens to your assets and most precious valuables after your death. These documents can get pretty detailed and should literally cover anything you own. That includes homes, vehicles, money, family heirlooms, and, yes, even sports memorabilia.
A few quick things you should do right off the bat include the following:
Create a list of your memorabilia inventory and how to locate them (safe, man cave, safety deposit box, etc.).
Include key details everyone needs to know (autographed and when, game-used and when, etc.).
Seek out updated professional valuations for items of unique and high value, and keep those numbers updated as the years pass. This helps you monitor if an item has gone up in value or declined and removes guesswork when your family steps in.
Include supporting paperwork to verify each item’s authenticity.
Create a list of dealers you’d prefer your loved ones to work with (auction houses, independent collectors, shops, etc.).
As previously stated, the beauty behind estate planning for memorabilia or anything else is that you control what happens next. We’ve had clients who knew exactly which family member or child they wanted to bequeath certain items to. We’ve had others who chose to give items to charity, or they gave step-by-step instructions on how to sell certain items.
The choice is yours. But the first step to all of this is to start your estate planning today.
Call Caitlyn Ashley Law today!!
Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will know what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.
Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, Will counsel you on which documents are best suited for your needs and ensure they are flexi-ble enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.