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Should art be a part of your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2019 | Wills & Trusts

To paraphrase an old saying, one person’s art can be another person’s trash. Not everyone is smitten with the Mona Lisa, for instance, and some people adore and others loath the reality-bending Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso. While taste and preferences are entirely subjective, there is no doubt that the Spanish master’s works are worth millions of dollars.

At a Florida recent wealth planning conference, estate planning attorneys, financial advisers and art collectors gathered to discuss the challenges and benefits of collecting and passing valuable assets on to the next generation.

A Miami estate planning attorney recently wrote an article about the topics of conversation at the conference. He noted that after Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting sold for more than $24 million a little more than three decades ago, works of art began to “emerge as an alternative asset class.”

He added that a famed financial consulting firm claimed in 2016 that art had become such a coveted asset that high-net-worth individuals around the world owned approximately $1.6 trillion worth of art. The firm estimates that figure will grow to $2.7 trillion by 2026, an increase of 69 percent in just one decade.

That growth is fueled by ultra-high-net-worth individuals who have made “art a material part of their overall portfolio,” the lawyer wrote in the Miami Herald. Part of what makes art such an attractive asset is the double-digit percentage appreciation on high-end pieces.

Clearly, those types of collectibles are not within everyone’s financial reach. But art lovers with significant assets help to not only make the world a more beautiful place, but also to enrich the lives of heirs and future generations.


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