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3 Unusual Assets To Deal With In An Estate

by Jamie Nichols

In the modern economy, estate lawyers find themselves coming into contact with more clients with non-traditional assets than ever before. Folks frequently have questions for estate attorneys about everything from investments overseas to digital assets. Let's take a look at what you need to do to ensure that your more unusual assets are transferred to those you care about.

Internet and Social Media Properties

These digital assets are a lot like giving someone a car, in the sense that the best way to transfer them is to make sure you include the keys. That means including up-to-date account and login information with the packet of information provided to the administrator of your estate.

It's also a good idea to have a professional valuation attached to each property. While attaching a value to something like a YouTube channel can be challenging, the process for estate attorneys isn't very different from valuing antiques or other items that fluctuate in value over time.

You should also provide some clarity about ownership. Even if an asset is part of a personal brand, it may be wise to set up a company that has shares. This will make it easier to divide the assets among multiple beneficiaries.

Overseas Investments and Bank Accounts

Dealing with anything overseas adds several layers of bureaucracy to an estate. First, you'll have to deal with the estate and probate rules of the governing country. This includes making sure that taxes are paid just like they would be on a U.S. estate. Second, U.S. laws and taxes will also apply, so you'll need to provide proof of what was paid overseas to offset any potential American bills. Finally, you'll need to find a way to ensure the transfer to beneficiaries can legally go through.

Antiques and Artwork

If you regularly invest in antiques and artworks as a sequester of value, there's a good chance this sort of thing doesn't feel very unusual to you. A lot of folks, though, end up with valuable collections that didn't start as investments. You might have several old project cars sitting around in your garage, for example, that have gone up in value.

Keep a full accounting of all such items. This will ensure that an heir doesn't just take the items without going through the estate process. Have any items you believe to be valuable appraised, and include official documentation of the appraisals with your will.