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Estate planning for art and collectibles

Art collectors in Virginia may have special concerns to address during the estate planning process. There are an array of tax laws that apply to these types of assets, which can carry significant sentimental value in addition to their assessed value. In fact, many collectors consider their art collections to be an appreciating investment.

People who have valuable art or other collections can take measures to ensure that these items are adequately addressed in the estate planning process. The IRS evaluates taxation of collectibles on a "stepped-up basis," so it can be particularly important to plan for and evaluate these items appropriately while planning for one's estate. In addition to the tax issues associated with these items, many people have strong emotional and sentimental attachments to art and other collectibles. This means that these assets can frequently be the subject of disputes among heirs and beneficiaries after the original owner passes away.

Reasons for estate planning

Virginia residents should understand that estate planning is a way to make sure that their financial assets are managed and protected in a manner that is in accordance with their wishes. It can be used to minimize the various taxes that can be assessed, including gift, individual and estate taxes. Regardless of the size of their estate, everyone who possesses assets should develop an estate plan.

High-value estates will be levied by state estate taxes. In some cases, federal estate taxes may be assessed as well as probate fees. Individuals can work with an attorney who practices estate planning law for assistance with determining when, to whom and where their assets should be distributed. This may help with minimizing how much tax and fees will be assessed on an estate.

Elements in selecting the right trustee

Virginia residents might use a trust as part of an estate plan in a number of different ways. Assets such as annuities or life insurance policies could be placed in the trust to accrue value while remaining tax-free or tax-deferred. A trust can also be used to control whether distributions are made to beneficiaries all at once or over time and what conditions will trigger them.

Appointing a trustee is an important element of creating a successful trust, but people often make the mistake of asking family or friends to fulfill this role. The reason this is an error is that while these are people who may be familiar with the grantor and beneficiaries, being a trustee may require a lot of time and a high level of financial and legal expertise the person lacks. Furthermore, the person is held liable for how the assets are managed, so this role can represent a significant burden.

Need a bond hearing?

Virginia’s bond hearing process can vary depending on the crime charged its severity and history of convictions and court appearances. If you have never been through a bond hearing, the process can be confusing. Here are the basics of how obtaining bond works in Virginia.

After the arrest

Important elements of an estate plan

People in Virginia who are creating estate plans should think about what kind of legacy they want to leave for their families. An estate plan and the conversations a person has with loved ones regarding this document can be an opportunity to teach family members values, such as the importance of people over money. One way to demonstrate this might be by leaving a portion of the inheritance to charity.

Parents might wonder about the best way to pass their assets down to children and grandchildren and consider whether they need to treat all their children equally. It is not necessary to distribute assets equally among children or other beneficiaries. Another approach might be to think about the estate in terms of equitable distribution. An example might be if a person had one child who was in a high-earning position and another kid who was responsible but worked at a job that paid much less. That individual might leave a larger portion of his or her inheritance to the lesser-earning child because he or she might struggle more to build a retirement account and a safety net.

Estate planning is for everyone

There is a common misconception among Virginia residents that estate planning is essential for the wealthy but wasted on people with less substantial portfolios. The simple truth is that estate planning is beneficial for every size of estate and a vehicle to provide guidance and support for loved ones in a time of confusion and grief. A will instructs everyone concerned how to proceed with the distribution of assets after a loved one's death. Making such decisions in advance shows consideration for loved ones and beneficiaries, such as charitable interests.

Having a well-crafted and regularly updated will is key to any estate plan, but this document is far from the only element that should be included. A solid estate plan should also contain advanced directives and powers of attorney. Many people fail to realize that end-of-life-planning falls under the umbrella of estate planning. Taking the time to carefully consider end-stage health decisions relieves loved ones of the burdens that accompany such matters. A living will and advanced directive keep critical health care decisions in the hands of the individual most affected. Designating specific powers of attorney triggered by certain events, such as incapacitation, also help provide guidance and easier transitions in times of grief and uncertainty. Financial accounts should have designated beneficiaries in the event of death. Insurance policies should have alternate beneficiaries listed and be regularly updated. Simply keeping a list of accounts along with passwords can be a huge help to family members after their loved ones pass.

Caught possessing?

Maybe you were cutting loose on the weekend or out celebrating a special event like the Martinsville Races. Someone offered you a joint. Next thing you know, an officer asks you what you’re smoking.

Marijuana laws vary widely between states, and Virginia tends toward the conservative side. Even the use of medicinal marijuana oil is illegal. So what consequences will you face for having marijuana on your person? Here’s a breakdown of some of the Virginia laws that pertain to the possession and sale of marijuana.

If you have a will, update it frequently

There are many people out there that put off the job of planning their estate. This is due to the seemingly daunting nature of estate planning, and also because many people assume that they "don't have the wealth necessary" to have an estate plan. However, if you commit to it, estate planning is not as insurmountable as it seems. In addition, there is never a bad time to plan out your estate -- regardless of your wealth.

To plan your estate, you are going to want to draft and complete a will. This will take some time, research, and hard work. But once it is complete, you will need to take care of that document by updating it when certain events occur.

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