The Retirement Guys: Who will get your Beanie Babies?Written by Nolan Baker Mark Clair | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember Beanie Babies? The little stuffed animals filled with plastic “beans”? There were nine original Beanie Babies and it is a mystery to me (Mark) how many there are today. I have seen articles saying there are more than 300, 600 and as many as 2,000 you can collect. I guess we will have to leave that to a Beanie Baby aficionado. They were introduced in 1993 and became a craze to collect. I have heard some of the original nine could be worth more than $4,000.
My father-in-law had an old Gibson guitar from the 1950s and I had heard guitars from that era could be worth as much as $100,000. This one turned out to be worth about $1,500. I have watched the reality show “American Pickers” a few times. These two guys go on expeditions to find vintage valuables they can acquire and sell for a profit. It is amazing they can find something old and decrepit and realize it’s something someone would pay a lot of money.
As an estate-planning attorney, I have drafted estate plans for folks with classic car collections, comic book collections, and, yes, Beanie Babies. These items are typically of great sentimental value to the owner because of the effort spent acquiring them or perhaps some connection to family. But what will happen to these collections when the owner passes away?
My mother-in-law had a collection of dolls and it was important to my wife to preserve this collection when her mom passed away. Sadly, what often happens is the children or heirs come into a decedent’s home, divide up tangible personal items and toss the rest. It could be because of ignorance of the value or just the goal of not accumulating so much “junk” that producers want to do an episode of “Hoarders” about you.
If you do not have an estate plan, such as a last will and testament, you should consult with an estate planning attorney right away to create one. You can list specific gifts in your will. I suggest keeping it simple, but list items that would be important to you to get where you want them to go.
Here is a tip: Sometimes things don’t get listed because most folks are not going to go back to the attorney’s office to change their will every time they acquire something new. This can be overcome by inserting a clause into the will referring to a “separate writing.” This clause states that from time to time you may want to designate specific gifts from your estate effective upon your death. The advantage of this is the clause includes an attached form where you can list items after the will has been drafted. As long as the form is witnessed, the designated gifts become part of the document after the fact. Pretty neat. If you have not created a will yet, or need to update it, get it done right away.
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