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Why and How to Store Valuable Estate Items


Call it minimalism or Swedish death cleaning, but some people seem to think that you should get rid of as much stuff as possible now so that you can live and die clutter-free.  By this logic, if your adult children would rather receive money than tangible property as a Christmas gift, then they would probably also rather receive money than tangible property as an inheritance.  Of course, there is plain old stuff, and then there is personal property so valuable that it is worth fighting about in probate.  If you own valuable estate items such as jewelry, antiques, or artwork, then your estate plan should include details about who should inherit these items.  If the items are currently in your house, you should make plans for storing them in the event that you move to an assisted living facility or when your estate goes to probate.  A Washington, D.C. estate planning lawyer can help you make plans for the long-term storage of your valuable personal property.

Not All Personal Property Is Clutter

Yes, you should declutter when you move out of your empty nest into a tiny house, senior living community, or assisted living facility.  When you do this, you will find very few, if any, items that will have a much higher resale value than you expected.  Most items have a long tenure as old junk before they become valuable antiques.  If you bought something as an investment, though, you should not simply donate it to Goodwill in the interest of having less stuff.  Your heirs will want to inherit items that you bought as an investment, such as artwork or memorabilia; even if they do not enjoy these items on an emotional level as much as you do, they will still want to sell them or keep them for their monetary value.

Sometimes You Have to Spend Money to Pass Down Generational Wealth

Yes, the least expensive way to store your stuff is to rent a storage unit at Public Storage on Chillum Road, but the stuff in question is not just stuff and the storage in question is not just storage.  Instead, you should store your antiques and artwork with the same care with which museums store artwork and antiques that are not currently on display.  You should hire a company that specializes in the packaging and long-term storage of valuable items.  If you do this, the items will go to a facility with excellent climate control and the ability to protect your valuable property from extreme weather.  This way, it will not get destroyed or stolen or depreciate in value.   Remember that your heirs might choose to continue storing the items even after your estate settles; not everyone has room to display multiple paintings.

Contact Us About Estate Planning for Collectors

A Washington, D.C. estate planning attorney can help you turn your artwork, antiques, memorabilia, and other valuable items of personal property into generational wealth.  Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help.

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