Court Bonds

Imagine Inheriting Thousands Of…



Plastic superhero figurines? Albums? Comic books? Tea cups? Matchbox cars? Pokemon? Coin purses? Hmmm….When dear friends or loved ones have unique and niche collections, chances are good that the rest of us might not fully appreciate their interests–or ultimately know what to do with all the carefully accumulated stuff. That’s why it’s important for collectors (and really everyone) to have an estate plan.


Responsible Stewardship

Reporting for The New York Times, George Gine Gustines reminds us that one person’s treasures might well be another person’s headache:


“More times than I can remember, a spouse or child has said to me, ‘If he wasn’t dead, I’d kill him all over again for leaving me with this mess,’” said Greg Rohan, the president of Heritage Auctions. Most people tend to know what to do with traditional investments after someone dies, he said, but when it comes to baseball cards, first-edition books, coins and other collectibles, the loved ones dealing with the estate can be stumped (and annoyed). If some collectors of, say, vinyl figurines, seem to have a gene that spurs them to dedicate entire rooms of their home to inanimate rubbery friends, they are also, in many ways, just like everyone else. “People don’t want to think about dying,” said Maggie Thompson, 80, a former senior editor of Comic Buyer’s Guide…, “I realize as I look around my rooms, my family is not going to know what things are.”


The sheer volume of some collections can make it extremely challenging for families to figure out what to do when an avid collector dies. Given that auctions have fetched a lot of money for some items of late, identifying what has potential monetary value, versus what is merely a fascinating accumulation of thematic “flotsam and jetsam” is a big challenge in and of itself. Though most collectors and their collections are unlikely to hit the jackpot, it can happen, as The New York Times demonstrates with these examples:


In April, a rare Pokémon card sold for $300,000 at Heritage Auctions. Last year, the original art for a comic book page featuring Spider-Man in his black costume sold for $3.36 million at Heritage, and a copy of Superman No. 1 went for $5.3 million in a private sale. In 2021, a Nintendo Mario 64 game in its original packaging sold for $1.5 million.


Since no one would want to find out too late that they let go of a valuable collectible, it’s important for collectors to carefully document the items in their collections and, while time is still on their side, share the information with a designated friend or loved one. Better yet, as Josh Benesh of Heritage Auctions (who is himself a collector) advises, “It’s a good idea to address collections in wills.” Benesh also points out: “It’s not really about doing it for the sake of money, but it’s making sure that the responsible stewardship of your collection extends beyond your life….”


Estate Planning Is For Everyone

Whether or not there is a collector (or a billionaire) in the family, everyone needs an estate plan. As attorney Meg DeLanders of Bowditch & Dewey explains, estate planning can accomplish so many important goals, including: designating guardians for minor children; setting aside assets for a spouse and other beneficiaries; preventing conflicts or oversights among relations, ensuring loved ones with special needs or capacity declines have care; looking out for cherished pets; making a succession plan for family owned businesses; and, even putting care plans in place for ourselves. Use these estate planning basics to get going.

Regardless of the specifics of your estate plan, the representatives you designate to see it through have a legal responsibility to carry out your affairs in accordance with your intentions and the law. When representatives like executors, personal representatives or trustees are designated, estate bonds can be required. Learn more about estate bonds right here. Colonial Surety, a leading, national provider of all kinds of estate bonds, makes it easy and speedy to obtain them. Simply: get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond from anywhere.

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Estate Planning Attorney?

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