Katherine Mullen's blogs on coin collecting basics.

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Should You Leave Your Coin Collection to Your Heirs?

heirs

Last time we discussed some of the practical considerations coin collectors need to keep in mind if they intend to leave their collections to their heirs. This time we’ll talk about whether you should leave all or part of your collection to your loved ones. What are some reasons you might choose to gift or sell it beforehand instead of leaving it to friends or relatives in your will?

Families are complicated, and, sadly, money can cause problems in families. These problems can persist for years after an estate has been transferred. The question of fairness in terms of who gets what and who might deserve it more often comes up in these situations, even when people explain their wishes in person to everyone. If you think there’s a possibility that your heirs will fight over your collection or that hard feelings will arise between them because of it, it might be better to sell the collection ahead of time and leave cash amounts behind in your will. While it’s very satisfying to leave a collection to someone who will value and cherish it, weigh that against any damage that might be done to relationships because someone feels slighted or overlooked.

Valuation is another complicating factor. Coin values go up and down for many reasons, including the price of gold and silver, the demand for certain coins, and current availability. This makes it even more difficult to divide your estate evenly amongst people. It’s wise to keep an updated spreadsheet of your coins and their value, but the only person who is likely to both know how much specific coins are worth and sell them at market value is you. You can make lists of your rare coins and reputable coin dealers or auction houses for your heirs to consult, but understanding coin worth is beyond either the interest or the aptitude of some people. Be realistic.

Finally, you should take into account estate taxes and how they might affect what your heirs will inherit. Currently, Congress is revisiting the estate tax, but until any legislation is passed, you need to consider whether gifting beforehand would be better for your heirs than waiting until you pass away. Coins, unlike land or other assets, are easy to dispense. Whatever you decide, you should do so well before you reach the end-of-life stage. Make sure to clarify your intentions in your will so that it’s clear to your heirs and cannot be disputed.

If Mullen Coins can help you sell any part of your collection in order to make inheritance issues less complicated for you and your family, please contact us. We would also be honored to be considered as a resource for your heirs, should they have questions about coin values or coin collecting.   

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