High-value assets can be good investments. However, passing along such assets to family members or beneficiaries is not always simple. When a person dies, an inventory must be made of both debts and assets. Any debts must be paid before the intended recipients can inherit from an estate. Proper estate administration can help to handle the details of transferring ownership.

A recent story may be of interest to people living in Oakland County who collect coins or have high-value assets they wish to pass on after they die. The brother of a scholar who died in a mountain climbing accident recently found a rare half-cent coin among his deceased brother’s belongings, even though the scholar died in 1963. The brother found the coin accidentally in a cabinet while housecleaning; the coin had presumably been in the cabinet for the last 50 years.

The man took the sought-after 1796 copper coin to an auction house to have it appraised, where it was estimated that the coin would sell for around $40,000 to $47,000. The final price was actually $357,000, which included $292,000 for the hammer price plus a buyer’s premium of 22 percent.

The United States coin was sold at the Woolley and Wallis auction house in England. The coin originated from a Philadelphia mint, was taken to England and has now been purchased by a Florida-based corporation. It is one of only a few of this particular type of coin known to exist in near-perfect condition.

The loss of a loved one is one of the hardest events a person can face. Taking an account of assets, paying debts and dealing with estate taxes are just some of the additional financial concerns surrounding a death. Learning the law that applies to wills and distribution of assets can make a challenging time a little easier and allow heirs and beneficiaries to protect their inherited assets.

Source: Huffington Post, “Rare 1796 U.S. Half-Cent Coin Belonging To Deceased Mountain Climber Fetches $357,000 At Auction,” Ron Dicker, Jan. 24, 2013

FindLaw Network