When you think of estate planning, do you only picture wills, trusts, and financial legacies?

Well, for many people, true wealth is in the passions they nurture throughout their lives. Whether it’s a garden bursting with heirloom tomatoes, a prized art collection, or a trove of sports memorabilia, these collections hold sentimental value and tell stories of a lifetime. As an estate planner, it’s my job to make sure my client’s passions live on. In today’s blog, we’re going to delve into how you can secure the future of your cherished collections and other passions.

Estate Planning For Plant Lovers

If you’re someone with a green thumb, gardens and plants are more than greenery — they are a legacy of care, dedication, and life. Some plant enthusiasts cultivate heritage gardens and preserve rare and heirloom varieties that others overlook and forget. If this sounds like you, here are a few steps to include your botanical treasures when doing your estate planning:

Create a Living Will for Your Plants

Just as you would for your loved ones, consider a living will for your plants. This document can outline the care instructions for your plants, guaranteeing they continue to thrive. Even when you’re not around to tend to them. This step is especially crucial for rare and delicate species that need specific conditions to flourish.

Designate a Green Guardian

Do you have a family member or friend who shares your love for plants and gardens? Choose them as your designated “green guardian” — which means they’ll inherit your botanical legacy and maintain it according to your wishes. Ideally, this person should have a similar level of expertise and passion for horticulture, to make sure your plants receive the care they need.

Set Up a Trust for Maintenance

You might also consider setting up a trust specifically for the maintenance of your garden or plant collection. You can use these trust funds for care, hiring a gardner, or expanding the garden. This financial cushion ensures that your green legacy can thrive without placing a financial burden on your loved ones. 

Documenting Your Garden’s Story

Beyond the technical aspects, you should document the story of your garden. Share the history of each plant, why you chose it, and the care tips you’ve learned over the years. This narrative can be a valuable guide for future caretakers and a touching reminder of your dedication.

Art Collections: Protecting Your Visual Legacy

Just as plant collectors know each plant is special — art collectors know that each piece in their collection has a unique story. Whether your collection includes contemporary pieces, classic painting, or eclectic sculptures — in your estate planning you’ll want to make sure that they’re handled with the same appreciation and care you’ve given them.

Detailed Inventory and Appraisals

You need to start with a detailed inventory of your art collection, including professional appraisals. This documentation is crucial for both valuation purposes and to provide clear instructions for the future. You’ll want to be sure to describe each piece thoroughly, noting any special care instructions or historical significance.

Art-Specific Trusts

Did you know that you can set up an art trust? In this trust, you can specify how to manage, display, or sell each piece of art. This can include instructions for donations to museums or loans to galleries, so that your collection remains accessible and appreciated. Also, art trusts can stipulate conditions for sale — this way pieces are being sold in a way that’s consistent with your values.

How to Choose the Right Curator

When choosing the right trustee or curator for your art, make sure you choose one who understands and values your collection as much as you do! This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes and maintaining the integrity of your collection. You should look for someone who has expertise in art handling, preservation, and a genuine passion for the pieces you’ve collected.

Educational Aspects

You’ll also want to consider setting up educational programs or scholarships in conjunction with your collection. These initiatives can help create a new generation of art enthusiasts and scholars. That way, your legacy not only survives, but also inspires others!

Jewelry: Passing Down Heirlooms with Care

Another way you can be sure your legacy survives is through jewelry. Jewelry usually carries a lot of sentimental value — representing family history, milestones, and personal achievements. To guarantee these precious pieces are properly cared for and passed down will mean you need to thoughtfully plan.

Detailed Descriptions and Appraisals

With each piece of jewelry, (just like your plants and art), you’ll need to document each piece with detailed descriptions and professional appraisals. This not only helps in accurate valuation but also in clearly communicating the significance and care instructions for each piece. High-quality photographs and writing down where the origin of the jewelry is from can add to the documentation.

Be Specific With Your Gift

You’ll make things a lot easier if you write down who gets specific items. That way, you help your family avoid disputes and ensure the right people cherish your heirlooms. You can also include notes about the history of each piece, making the gift you leave behind more personal and meaningful.

Maintenance and Insurance Trusts

Set up trusts for the maintenance and insurance of your most valuable pieces. This confirms that they remain in good condition and are adequately protected for future generations. If you want to preserve the beauty and value of your jewelry, regular maintenance is really important. And when you have funds allocated for this purpose, it can make a huge difference.

Stories Behind the Sparkle

I bet most of your jewelry has a special story that goes with it. Document these stories! Explain the significance of each piece and why it’s special. This will create a much deeper connection for your heirs and keep the sentimental value alongside the material worth.

Sports Memorabilia: Keeping the Spirit Alive

If you’re a sports enthusiast, memorabilia collections are considered a testament to your love for the game and its history. Does your collection range from autographed jerseys, to historic tickets and even rare trading cards? When you’ve passed, you’re going to want to make sure they are well preserved as well as appreciated by others.

Catalog Your Collection

You’ve probably caught on to one of the themes of this blog — writing down everything! The same thing goes for your sports collection. You’ll want to maintain a thorough catalog of your memorabilia, including the origin, photographs, and descriptions. This is really important for valuation and for your future caretakers to fully understand the significance of each item. Pro-tip: try making a digital catalog which will make updating it and sharing it easy!

Choose a Knowledgeable Trustee

Just like with all of the other collections that you have, be sure you choose a trustee who is passionate about sports and understands the value of your collection. Their enthusiasm and knowledge will help preserve the integrity and significance of your memorabilia. Ideally, it would be helpful if the person you chose has connections within the sports memorabilia community. That way, you can make sure your collection is properly handled and has the potential to grow.

Exhibiting Your Collection

Something for you to think about: consider setting up exhibitions or lending pieces to museums or sports hall of fame. This lets the public enjoy your collection and helps make sure sports enthusiasts appreciate the stories behind each item.

Planning for Passion: How Schroeder Larsen Law Can Help You!

As you can see, estate planning is about more than just financial assets — it’s about preserving your legacy in all its forms. When you carefully plan for the future of your collections and passions, you’re ensuring that others will appreciate and care for the things you love. Whether you’re a plant person, an art expert, a jewelry collector, or a sports memorabilia enthusiast, your legacy can continue to grow after you’re gone.

At Schroeder Larsen Law, I can help you seamlessly integrate these elements into your estate planning. I’ll tailor solutions to guarantee the preservation of your unique legacy for years to come. When you have me on your side, you can create detailed plans, set up trusts, and designate guardians and trustees who value your treasures. I’m committed to helping you create a comprehensive plan that respects and honors your life’s passions. Together, we can make sure your legacy isn’t just preserved, but also celebrated!

Contact Schroeder Larsen Law today and I’ll make everything as stress free as possible for you!