Life Is Short, Art Is Long: Maximizing Estate Planning Strategies for Collectors of Art, Antiques and Collectibles

BY MICHAEL HAYES

by Michael Mendelsohn
Wealth Management Press, 2006, 421 pp.

Accountant, financial planner and outsider art collector Michael Mendelsohn has composed a pleasant read with a purpose. His premise: Most people collect something, and over time many of those collections come to represent important client wealth that should be included in the estate planning process. While capable financial advisers will dot every i and cross every t, many overlook how best to handle the transfer of collectibles. The problem is exacerbated when heirs—to evade taxes—quietly whisk art out of collector clients’ homes.

Mendelsohn weaves together serious tips and engaging anecdotes about how wooing his wife led to their shared obsession with collecting. Practical estate planning details include instruction about inventorying a collection, having it properly appraised, planning for its disposition and information about how a client can:

Avoid losing 70% of the value of a collection.

Work with an advisory team.

Fulfill philanthropic intentions.

Use a collection to create liquidity.

Employ sophisticated planning techniques.

Never assume, he says: Ask your clients what they collect, and then take it from there.

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