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Gold, Silver, and Your Estate Plan


One popular stereotype about grandpas is that they live in Florida.  Another is that they have coin collections.  According to this stereotype, when children visit their grandparents in Florida, the children are required to sit patiently and be pleasant to their grandparents for at least a little while before heading to the beach or the theme parks, no matter how boring the experience might be, and this often involves Grandpa showing off his coin collection.  Grandpa proudly reminisces about the wheat pennies that circulated in his youth, the foreign coins he collected on his travels, and the silver dollars that used to be able to buy a feast at the hamburger stand; sometimes there are even some little gold bars called bullion, and Grandpa boasts about how valuable they are.  According to a new Florida law, your coin collection is just stuff, which means that it is time to review your estate plan with a Florida estate planning lawyer to ensure that your gold and silver coins and bullion pass on to your heirs the way you want them to.

Precious Metals Are Not Just Stuff, Even If the Law Treats Them That Way

As of July 2020, section 731.1065 of the Florida Probate Code classifies precious metals, including gold and silver bullion, coins, and jewelry as tangible personal property, even if you collected it for its artistic or investment value, and even if it is a family heirloom that has been in your family for generations.  In other words, if your will says that one heir will inherit your personal property, or that multiple heirs will split it, that is who gets your gold and silver.  This is good news and bad news from an estate planning perspective.  The good news is that, when creditors make claims on your estate, they first seek payment in cash, but if there is no cash to pay the decedent’s debts, the court is more likely to order the sale of real estate property belonging to the estate than tangible personal property.  The bad news is that, if your will is not specific about which heir gets which personal property, it is bound to cause hurt feelings if your daughters have to battle it out about which one gets Dad’s gold bullion and which one gets the gravy boat that Mom inherited when her maiden Aunt Sadie died.

Why You Should Review Your Estate Plan in Light of the New Law

If you own precious metals, you should be specific in your will about your plans for them.  Do you want them to be sold and have your children divide the proceeds evenly?  Does the gold bullion go to your daughter, the silver dollars to your son, and the German marks to your nephew?  It is your choice what to do with your gold and silver, but as with so many other aspects of estate planning, the more specific you are, the better.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

An estate planning lawyer can help you make informed decisions about what to say in your will about your gold and silver investments and collections.  Contact Clearwater asset protection lawyer William Rambaum for help.


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