Family Law With Heart

Dealing with valuable collections in high-asset divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2022 | Asset Division |

At every social gathering at their home, this high-asset couple would pop the cork of a vintage wine bottle from their vast collection and serve it to their friends. It was a tradition that lasted until they decided to divorce.

That collection of rare wines along with other collectibles – some holding immense value and other holding sentimental value – all must get scrutiny when dividing assets.

Non-marital and marital property

Luxury cars, thoroughbreds, museum pieces, whiskey, sports cards, watches and even sneakers are some of the collections found among high-asset couples. Fierce fighting may be in store.

Certain division-of-assets decisions may be easy: the person who brought the collectibles into the marriage may leave with them because they were non-marital property.

However, some divorcing couples may fiercely fight over these valuables, especially the ones that they bought together. This is marital property, and there likely is no other choice than to sell these collections and split the money.

Make an inventory, get them appraised

Here are two crucial things to consider when ownership of collectibles comes into question during a divorce:

  • Create a complete inventory of the items in question: You must be thorough when assembling this list. Include detailed descriptions of items, which may include fine art, a wine collection, jewelry, sports memorabilia, and rare books, coins and comic books. The list should include every collectible that may come into question.
  • Seek appraisals for these items: You want to have an accurate estimate of their worth. Enlisting the help of a valuations expert may prove beneficial. These people have solid ideas on the market value of collectibles as well as whether a market demand exists for them. You may have to go to different valuations experts who specialize in different things. Think the appraisers from the PBS show “Antiques Roadshow.”

By following these tips, you may have a less-rocky experience when dividing assets in divorce.

Conundrums with collectibles

It may be hard giving up some collections. But in certain scenarios, no other choice may exist but to sell. And, in other scenarios, bitter battles may arise. Under these circumstances, an experienced attorney may provide the necessary guidance.