Affluent couples accumulate assets that a typical married pair often only fantasize about. Then when they separate and head toward divorce, these collections ranging from jewelry and fine art to wine and Persian rugs receive attention when it is time to divide assets.
Collectibles and similar property remain in a category much different from typical assets as a home, real estate, retirement investments, cars and personal property. How do you determine who gets what? Where do you draw the line when it comes to marital versus non-marital assets? How do you prepare?
Non-marital vs. marital property
With assets like these – some of which may be priceless – expect some significant disputes to arise. Some of these assets may have been handed down in your family from generation to generation. Others may have been accumulated during the time of your marriage and with the income you earned.
The former example represents non-marital property, while the latter is marital property. In addition, if too many uncertainties and disputes surface over certain assets, perhaps the best solution is to sell them and split the proceeds.
Make an inventory and get items appraised
Here are some important things to consider when dealing with valuable collections and collectibles:
- Create an inventory: You want a complete list of every asset, including the ones in contention. They may include coins, sports memorabilia, firearms, yachts and exotic cars.
- Get these assets appraised: Enlist the help of a valuations expert who will diligently work to find out the market value of these assets and whether a demand currently exists for them.
These represent the crucial initial steps to take when addressing such valuable assets that each spouse may want.
Guidance toward resolution
Remember, you may have to let go of some of these collections and collectibles. However, if a bitter dispute surfaces, sometimes, a third-party – a person who has no stake in dealing with these contentious items – will play an instrumental role toward resolution.