As a legal expert with a background in accounting, Jamie Colby knows a thing or two about shoring up estates. And this definitely came in handy as she hosted Fox Business Network’s new hit series, Strange Inheritance (9:00 PM/ET Monday-Thursday on FBN). For the series, she traveled the country speaking with people saddled with unusual inheritances – from bug museums to Barbies, and even Bonnie & Clyde guns – she saw it all. ValueWalk caught up with the attorney and anchor, to get some insights on inheritances, and what to do if someone leaves behind something utterly unexpected.
Below are Jamie’s top 5 tips on how to handle the tough situation of inheritances:
- Get updated appraisals of what you plan to bequeath every few years. This can be very helpful to your heirs if they decide to sell.
- Keep a folder or safe deposit box with original receipts, passbooks and other documentation of what is in your estate. This is very important for determining “cost basis” upon which estate and other taxes are based.
- Be as specific as possible as to your wishes regarding everything you can, including funeral plans and whether you want your heirs to keep or sell what you leave. In meeting and interviewing the 26 families I have so far for our Fox Business show “Strange Inheritance”, the most challenging part for these heirs was trying to fulfill what they “thought” was wanted after death and not really knowing for sure.
- If you inherit something, check as soon as possible if it makes sense to insure it. Once an item of value changes hands and is in yours, it will be your responsibility if it is damaged, destroyed or stolen.
- Choose your executor or trustee carefully. Many people choose someone they feel obligated to like a spouse, child or friend when they truly believe that it is not the best choice but the one most acceptable to everyone else. Being an executor or trustee is a huge responsibility. It needs to be someone that is willing to take the time to probate, value and distribute your estate and be involved in any disputes should they occur. Don’t take chances. Ask them first and let them know your plan ahead of time. Be aware you can name more than one person to be co-trustees or co-executors.
Don’t forget to catch Jamie Colby as the host of Strange Inheritance on the Fox Business Network Monday through Thursday at 9:00 PM/ET. More details on the series can be found here: www.strangeinheritance.com