Dec 28, 2013

Vexing Estate Executor Issues: Finding Value in a Collection

Previously published on WorthPoint.com

We are a society of collectors. From bottle caps to art to old newspapers, our collections fill the closets and dens of estates everywhere. Not all of these collections are valuable, but they do have one thing in common: they confuse the dickens out of estate executors.

The confusion stems from the mandate on estate inventory forms which requires executors to “list collections separately.” Sometimes the instruction comes with a value minimum, sometimes not. I regularly get calls from clients who want to know “what sort of items make up a collection.” Should I consider all the art on the walls to be a collection, or are they just a bunch of single artworks? How about the tools in the tool box; are they a collection? Videos and records? Books?

Then the follow-up questions: How many items are in a collection? How do I value a collection? Do I add up every single item or take them as a whole?

These baseball cards, part of a collection of 30,000-plus vintage and modern cards from 1937 to present, recently sold for $8,600 on eBay. Read More

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