Will your family recognize your treasure from your trash?

Doug Horn

During our lifetimes, most of us tend to accumulate a great deal of “stuff.” Many times, this is a result of hobbies, such as collecting Hummels, coins, stamps, guns or any number of other items. Sometimes the collections do not really have any significant value, like a collection of baseball caps. But, there are times when one or more of the items purchased during our lifetime has value and it may not be recognized by our children or heirs.

Part of estate planning should include documenting those items that have been collected or passed down from one generation to another. Keeping photos or letters that support family stories will often add value to the item. This is referred to as “provenance.” Clearly a word I do not use often, but have learned its importance when I have watched the Antique Roadshow on public TV. Documented family history of the civil war sword carried by a great great great uncle may actually double the sword’s value with the provenance, than the value of the sword on its own.

There have also been stories on the Antique Roadshow that have taught me one person’s keepsake can be another person’s trash. There have been many reports on this program where someone found a painting, wicker basket, old toy… and the list goes on - in a trashcan, attic, or garage sale only for the purchaser to recognize its true value and make the gain rather than the children or heirs of the original owner.

Only recently, my father-in-law was assisting the children of a deceased friend by helping move all of her belongings to storage. The children had already come to their mother’s home and taken those things of importance or sentimental value, or at least so he thought. While he confirmed they did not want any of the remaining items and it could all go to charity or trash, there were still many items with significant value. This included a signed limited edition painting, many gold jewelry items including men’s cufflinks, as well as many quality pieces of clothing that could easily been sold in a resale shop for a thousand dollars or more. It is very possible that the painting over the living room couch may not be appreciated by the children and thus discarded, only for someone else to discover it is worth thousands of dollars because of who and when it was painted.

Taking time now to remind the future executor of the estate of those items which may have hidden value could prove very beneficial to the beneficiaries. Many times all that is required is attaching a written note to an item will serve as a beneficial tool for those following behind in your footsteps.

For assistance with portfolio allocations, insurance, estate planning, or investment management contact me at Quality Financial Concepts or one of the other Certified Financial Planners in our area. To continue a personal quest for education, you can also view our learning center on our website, www.goqfc.com. There you will find articles on a variety of topics, on-line seminars, calculators, as well as a host of other free tools.

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