Trusts to protect and pass on artwork, antiques, and other valuable assets

Some assets — such as real property, stocks and savings — are fairly straightforward when it comes to bequeathal to heirs. Other assets — such as valuable artwork or antiques — are not so easy.

How do you will an asset to a loved one when there is no deed of ownership? And just as importantly, how do these paperless assets figure into the size and administration of your “taxable estate”?

According to this article by Bonnie Kraham — Protecting Your Future: Knowing the value of artwork is a must — how you dispose of these assets can be extremely important to the administration and taxation of your Estate. One particularly dangerous method is referred to as “the empty hook” method, wherein “When the collector dies, the beneficiaries simply remove the artwork (from the hooks) in accordance with name tags on the items for the intended recipients. Thus, the Estate is left with “empty hooks” of what may be part of a sizable taxable estate for estate tax purposes.”

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