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Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC

Estate litigation over an art collection, yes it can happen

Many New Jersey residents are lovers of art. Some, so much so, that they build amazing art collections over the course of their lives. Having an affluent art collection can be a wonderful thing, but it can also cause issues if what to do with the collection is not properly spelled out in an estate plan. In fact, such collections are often behind estate litigation cases.

Art collections range in value, but many can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars -- if not millions. It is common for these collections to be left to loved ones or donated. If planned for properly, it is possible to transfer the pieces and reduce the tax burden -- both on the estate and for the beneficiary.

In order for the art to be transferred without issue, the owner needs clearly state new ownership and retitle the pieces accordingly. Failing to do this can leave it up to a judge or beneficiaries to decide which can lead to arguments. Money and property simple are behind most fights when trying to distribute a loved one's estate.

Those in New Jersey whose loved one's have left behind affluent art collections but have concerns about how the collections are to be divided or sold based on the directions given in an estate plan -- or lack thereof -- do not have to sit by and let the court or just one family member decide how it will all work out in the end. With the assistance of an estate litigation attorney, it is possible to fight for one believes is fair and right. Though it may not be easy, it may certainly prove worth one's time and effort.


Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning And Affluent Art Collectors," Russ Alan Prince, Jan. 8, 2018

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