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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > When Your Estate Contains Historically Significant Items

When Your Estate Contains Historically Significant Items


Making plans for non-monetary components of your estate often involves appraising their resale value, as well as the challenging task of thinking objectively about how much sentimental value the property will hold for members of your family.  Some people hold onto family heirloom personal items for decades with the understanding that junk eventually turns into antiques.  In general, the fewer personal items you leave for your family to sort through, the better; you should not hold onto your grandmother’s dinner napkins out of a faint hope that, because they are family heirlooms, your granddaughter will eventually want to iron them.  You should, however, determine whether the real estate properties or inherited personal items you own are of interest for historical preservation purposes.  A Hillsborough County estate planning lawyer can help you with this process.

Get Your Antiques Appraised Sooner Rather Than Later

The more you declutter, the easier estate planning becomes.  If you own antique items, you should get them professionally appraised.  The next step is to let your family relatives choose which personal items they want; knowing the appraisal value may or may not affect their decisions.  After that, incorporate your relatives’ requests for certain items of personal property into your will, or better yet, give those items to the recipients now, so you can both enjoy seeing the family heirlooms passed on to the next generation.

While some antiques might not be fit for display in a museum, there might be someone out there who wants them.  For example, there might be someone who wants early 20th century textiles, if only to use them to make quilts or dresses.  Likewise, you might find a vinyl record enthusiast who would be delighted to have another copy of Rubber Soul, even if your copy is not in pristine condition.  It takes some research to find new homes for your stuff, but it shifts the focus off of “life is a pile of clutter and then you die” and onto meeting new people and talking to them about their passion projects.

Your Kids Want Tiny Houses, Not Historic Homes

If you inherited a house that has been in your family for generations, but neither you nor your descendants want to live in it, you might want to bequeath it to an institution of historic preservation.  (The other choice is to sell the house, but if you do this, the new owner has the right to demolish the house and build McMansions or a parking lot.)  If you go the historic preservation route, you can never be too careful about how you word your will or trust; this will determine what happens to the property after you are gone.  You may remember the dispute over a historic home on the edge of the Everglades when the estate of former Attorney general Janet Reno went to probate.  The Reno family homestead eventually became the property of Miami-Dade College, which is preserving it as Reno had wished, but only after a costly legal battle.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

A Tampa probate lawyer can help you pass your property on to people who will benefit from it for financial, sentimental, or historical reasons.  Contact David Toback for help today.




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