Attorney Todd Dwire speaking with staff member in conference room

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Valuation of a coin collection or artwork in a divorce property division

Hiring an appraiser to value a coin collection or other valuable item can ensure a fair property division.

Has a spouse always claimed that a piece of artwork picked up at an auction is worth a fortune? Antiques Roadshow may not be in town; nevertheless, if going through a divorce it is important to seek an appraisal to obtain a fair property division.

The division of property can be the most contentious issue in a divorce. Often it is second only to child custody and support. Common types of property accumulated over the years of a marriage include real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts and investment portfolios. Personal property is also divided equitably between the spouses in Minnesota.

When a spouse spent years investing in a comic book, sports memorabilia or rare china collection, it is important to seek an expert valuation. For example, a spouse who bragged for years about the value of a rare coin collection may quickly change tact during a divorce. All of a sudden, there might even be missing items.

The value in hiring an appraiser

It is often a good idea when you do not know the value of a collection to seek an appraisal as part of the property division in a divorce. An appraiser who is an expert in coin collections, for instance, can provide a written appraisal with a fair market value. Photographs may show the condition of items or provide evidence that some pieces could be missing.

Seeking a qualified appraiser is important, because two experts may value the collections differently. The credentials of an expert may sway the court to lean toward a higher valuation.

The ultimate value of the collection is important. While the court may not divvy up the physical collection, if it is marital property each spouse receives an equitable portion of the value. In practical terms, this could mean that the spouse who keeps the collection receives a smaller portion of the investment portfolio.

Other commonly forgotten assets to consider

Do you have airlines miles or bank rewards that are only under the name of one spouse? These are valuable and commonly forgotten in the division of property.

Very few people stay in the same position for their whole career. If a spouse switched jobs, review whether an old pension or 401(k) retirement account exists. Stock options or deferred compensation may have made up the benefit package of previous employment as well.

A winning lottery ticket purchased during the marriage is marital property and should be divided equitably between the spouses regardless of which spouse purchased the ticket.

When considering divorce consult with a family law attorney to discuss property division. Failing to take into account the value of certain property or forgetting to account for property can easily result in an unfair settlement.

Keywords: Property valuation, divorce, collections, artwork