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Wine as an asset in an estate plan

An Ohio resident who is appointed executor of a will might be responsible for assets outside that person's area of expertise. As executor, it is necessary that the person properly manage the asset. One example of an asset that might be passed down using a will is a wine collection. This is both a unique and a perishable asset, so there are a few things the executor must do.

First, the collection must be inventoried. The executor is not expected to be an expert on whatever assets may be included in the estate, and an expert recommended by an auction house could assist with this process. If wine clubs or wineries were sending regular shipments, they should be contacted to stop future deliveries. The person who assists in inventorying the collection might also help with proper storage of the collection. Wines that are exposed to conditions such as light or fluctuating temperatures can become worthless. Insuring the collection may be a good idea. Finally, the collection must be valued.

The executor is also responsible for distributing the assets. If the beneficiaries wish to sell the collection, the collector must assign it to them and then hire an expert to arrange an auction. If they are keeping the collection, the will may specify who pays for its transport.

When creating an estate plan, a person should think carefully both about who to name as an executor and who would be the right beneficiary for certain assets. For example, if there is an art collection and one family member is passionate about art, that person might want the collection in lieu of more liquid assets. Communicating with family members to understand their wishes and priorities and to explain one's own reasoning behind estate planning decisions can be important to a smooth probate process.

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