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Willing a Classic Car After Death


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I posted the following on the Classic Car website. I'm a single male who owns classic cars. I have no children or wife to will my cars to. I have a handful of friends in the same position I'm in. I'm sure there are many other members who are single with no children to leave their cars to. I'm sure there are also many members who, for one reason or another, don't want to leave their cars to their kids or relatives. A museum is always a good choice but I would be interested to know if any club members have ever considered, or would consider, entering into a reciprocity of wills. To clarify, two members enter into an agreement whereupon each owner of a classic wills their classic to the other owner. Age wouldn't necessarily be a factor. People can die at any age for a number of reasons. Cars may or may not be of equal value. The important thing is that both parties would be happy owning the other person's classic. This could also be a way for a person to obtain a car they might not have otherwise been able to buy either because of rarity or affordability. Death is inevitable but our cars 'live' on. This would be one way of keeping these cars in the hands of hobbyists and collectors who truly appreciate them. I would be interested to hear what other people think about this idea. I own 6 classics and two non classics. Maybe there are 8 like minded people out there. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts.

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Interesting idea. Unfortunately, I would be unable to participate because my 10 year old daughter is already trying to figure out how to outmaneuver my 19 year old son and inherit my one antique car AND any others that I buy before I die. So, I have two kids who would kill me if I agreed to will my car to you. grin.gif

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My wife and I don't have any kids and the rest of the family would either destroy or sell the vehicles. We will be donating the one car for sure to a museum when I or both of us move on to the big junkyard in the sky. If the wife survives me it is her choice what to do with the rest of them.

You may want to contact the AACA museum and get their input. It is great museum, building and they take care of their vehicles.

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Ron,

We don't have any kids either but I do have 4 brothers and 1 sis. And I know if I ever sold the car neither one of them would not be pleased with me. So I would pass it along to one of them…

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I will tell you that I have thought about this a lot and I made the decision years ago that I will give my cars away. Hopefully that will be to my children. But if my children show no interest, or I feel they will just sell them for the money, I will give them to someone else. My hope is that I will be able to find a young family who is interested in the earlier vehicles that I have, but would be unable to afford them, and give them a vehicle so they can enjoy them like I have.

I am in my 40's now and my children are 17, 14, and 8. All of them have shown interest, especially my 8 year old daughter. I would love to see her end up with the 1912 Rauch & Lang. My older son told me, after I spent several hours with him behind the wheel of the 1920 Model T for driving lessons, that he now understood the interest in the older cars.

I figure that by the time I am done with these cars (baring an unforeseen event), these cars will be well outside the reach of a young family. I know I wish I could have found someone who would have done something like that for me. I had to buy junk and spend years restoring it (the model T that is, all the rest are still junk). I wonder if I will ever get to drive my E-M-F. I hope so. It would be nice to have a brass era car I could drive. Oh well. I am happy to have the cars I have.

There was a guy in my local car club who had a 1906 single cylinder Cadillac that I dreamed of owning since I was a child. I use to talk to this man at every show about the car. He let me drive it once which was a dream come true. When I was in my 30's and he was into his 80's I talked to him about possibly purchasing the car when he felt he was done with it. He told me that it would sell at his estate sale. My wife and I saved up money so we might at least have a shot at this car (or a 1910 Cole Toy Tonneau that I also loved). Both cars were sold before his death to other elderly collectors who already had similar cars. The Cadillac went to a collector with several single cylinder Caddy's. The Cole went to a collector with another Cole and has since traded hands again. The younger people never even had a chance.

I doubt I will ever be able to own a single cylinder Caddy or a Stanley Steamer (two of my 4 dream cars, the other two dream cars are the E-M-F and Rauch & Lang which I do own)now. Like I said, I would be happy if I can get my E-M-F and Rauch & Lang to a point where I can see them move under their own power.

Anyway...... Good luck with your task and I commend you for at least thinking about this topic in the way that you are.

John

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I have thought of this, having no children myself and not planning on having any. One the one hand, I want my cars to go to someone who will appreciate and maintan them like I would have. On the other hand, perhaps it could bring someone else into the hobby who otherwise would not have joined. My brother is a career inmate (don't ask), and my in-laws are all jerks with miserable children who don't even get Christmas cards from us, so they're out, too. I don't have any family beyond that.

I kind of like the Miss Havisham technique--give it to a totally unsuspecting person (whom you know, of course). Imagine the thrill of someone leaving you something of significance that is completely unexpected. My best friend has kids (he named his son after me), and I currently have them listed as secondary beneficiaries on my life insurance policies, after my wife. They're not car people, but perhaps his son would be, especially if he's in, say, his 40s or 50s when I finally expire. It wouldn't be like giving it to some young kid. I think about all the older guys I know who own spectacular cars. They know my keen interest and I dream that someday one of them will leave me a V12 Packard or something amazing like that. What a thrill that would be for anyone.

Remember that there are also some significant tax ramifications for the recipient. There was an extensive article on this in a recent issue of "Sports Car Market" magazine. I'll check it tonight and try to give you a summary.

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Interesting topic, but there is know way of knowing what the recipient would do with the car, keep it forever or part with it within a few years for whatever reason. A museum would flip it for a profit to keep the lights lit and airconditioning working.

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Matt, I like your ideas.

But, I would suggest that you start getting your friend's children to ride with you and attend meets, cruise-ins, whatever to get them interested in the hobby. If they don't have an interest, they may just sell off the car for handy cash.

Sorry, I always look at the bad side of things first. frown.gif

Wayne

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Well this was interesting!

My aunt was 83 when she got her first car titled in her name. All other cars was in husbands name. When she gave up driving she was 87. She put me down as the owner of the car if any thing happened to her. She too had no children and I am one of 43 nieces. My husband and I used to take her to shows after she came back here from Florida when she lost her husband. She never told me she was leaving me the car. She went in for a normal opperation and died there. The very first thing my aunt said was now "I'll sell the car." That is until her will was opened! I now have a 1987 caddy in almost mint condition. Boy was I surprised and so was my aunt. She left a note she wanted me to take it to a car show when it was "old enough" and I am pleased to tell it one "top 60" in a show last year the took all cars. I put it in memory of her.

Do you have any cousins that are interested?

Deby

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1937hd45</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> A museum would flip it for a profit to keep the lights lit and airconditioning working. </div></div>

That is not necessarily true. You need to come to an agreement (signed) with stipulations. Granted that you will probably have a hard time telling a museum they can't eventually sell the 75 Pinto, 4 door 53 Chevy, etc. A mutual agreement when donating something that is rare, low milage original or a no expense spared nut and bolt restoration on a desirable unique vehicle should be doable and agreeable to both parties.

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I am in the same boat. There is no one in the family that I would leave the car to, it would be sold, beat or parted out. I recognize the fact that once I'm gone its simply a car to someone else. My solution is in my will set a fair price so my wife can get some money for the estate. Put in there anyone can purchase it from the estate in 6 months, this will eliminate any one saying they want it and tying it up. This will still be hard for me to do as I know its chances for survival are slim. Never thought of reciprical agreements among club members who don't have anyone to hand it down to. I like the concept, requires more food for thought.

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If you have kids, put the titles to the cars in the kids names when you're around 75 years old. Just go down to the BMV & sell them the car for around $2500 or so. No one will ask any questions on that dollar amount. It's when you start giving them away, or putting $100 on the title that the red flags go up. They'll have to pay $100 or so in tax & title fees, but then your valuable asset is transfered to your kids without inheritence tax ramifications.

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I let my grandson with me as copilot drive my chevelle to his prom. For over an hr. I heard Grampa I love this car. I wish it was mine. I finaly asked what would you do with an old car?? Ans.?? Gramp I would chrome everything under the hood, then I would cut a nice hole in the hood and mt. the bigest chrome blower I could find. Thats when I said to myself,Self, when the time comes your going to sell to the highest bider and take a cruse or through one hell of a party.

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this is a great subject that my wife and i have already have had. Since my kids seem not to have interest i jokingly told her that i wanted to be buried in the 42 lincoln, she thought about this for a minute and said that she would probably dress me up in a pretty pink dress put me in the car and have it crushed in order to fit in a standard grave. i guess since i will not be around i dont have a problem with it but does ith dress have to be pink?

lol

/

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Wow, I wasn't expecting so many people to answer so soon! Glad to see so many people read the posts and have offered/shared their thoughts and opinions. Over the years I've talked to a lot of folks whose kids don't have any interest in their cars. I know of one person who has willed one of his classics to his good friend although the friend hasn't returned the favor. These reasons, and the fact I have no kids (no brothers or sisters either), prompted me to post the topic. Speaking for myself, I don't sell my cars. I buy what I love and keep them. The only way they will leave me is if I'm too old to drive or I die. If I'm too old I'll still probably keep them to look at unless I go blind. None of my friends or family members has the least bit of interest in the cars other than seeing dollar signs. So far no one posting seems to be willing to discuss a reciprocating will with me but we'll see what future posts hold. By the way, my classics consist of 3 pre-war Cadillacs, a Buick, Packard and Pierce. My non classics consist of two more Buicks. I also have a later model Jaguar V12 and Datsun ZX to add a little diversity. I would like to see my cars go to other hobbyists who love them as much as I do. I don't street rod or modify vehicles. I'm a purist who loves originality. If I ever entered into an agreement with another hobbyist it would be because we had the same ideas and would each love to own the other's car, not to modify, rod or flip the other person's car for a profit. Keep the posts coming. If nothing else it's worth taking time to think about the inevitable and making plans now before it's too late.

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You know, if you're looking for someone to whom you can will your cars, who will cherish them and not sell them or cut them up, I have a nice, big garage and if I'm lucky, at least 40 more years of playing with cars... laugh.gif

I'd certainly be willing to reciprocate, particularly since I don't have kids or family who would be worthy recipients of my cars, either. I know my wife appreciates them because of my enthusiasm, but has no interest in keeping/maintaining/driving them if I'm not around.

Thanks for giving us food for thought. I'm going to check the tax ramifications this evening and report back.

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Well, Matt, unless my longevity gene is really strong you're probably going to outlive me, my friend. Doesn't matter. I may still be your guy. I'd have to see what you have worth dealing over. It's pretty obvious you have a '41 Buick sedanette. Let me know what you find out regarding the legalities of doing something like this. The obvious thing that comes to mind is how one person would know if the other were to change that part of the will without the other participant knowing it. I guess that could be written in as a provision.

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Chac! Charlie?

Have you ever read about these high class operations that have a fleet of exotic cars with a large rental agreement, depending on what you want to drive for the weekend. (I should call it a gentleman's club)

It sounded really fascinating to me. I wish I knew where you lived. I'd pay you to just ride or drive with you in your classics on any given weekend and I'm sure others would too.

Interesting thread, guys!

Wayne

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My cars stay in the family whether or not I ever have kids, my sister (who is 11!) will get them if I am gone before tI have kids, I already have written out instructions and told my dad, also, they are not to be turned over until she has a way of supporting herself and is out of college, if something happens to me, that way they wont get sold if she needs money. but, need to update it with the '48. Even though she is not a die hard car person, she understands the sentimental and the important aspects of the family history when it comes to my cars, and she is only 11! When my grandpa died it was just understood that I got the '21 because he and I had worked on it for 10 years and he wanted me to have it and drive it to school! So, my grandma signed it over because she knew of all the hours we worked on it and both of them wanted me to have it.

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Well, I did some research, although I couldn't find the exact articles that gave me the information I thought I had. Apparently, my wife has instituted a policy of throwing away a magazine after the following month's issue arrives. Meh.

Anyway, from looking around at various sources and talking to my father the tax attorney (who makes his living suing the IRS, which he enjoys immensely), here's my understanding of how the IRS currently looks at estate taxes as they relate to car collections:

Say your collection was amassed over the past several decades for a total personal cash outlay of $100,000. Today let’s say it is worth $500,000. If you were to sell the collection right now, you’d pay capital gains taxes of 46% on that $400,000 “profit” just like any other investment (not counting what your state will take, usually another 3-5%). So selling your collection before you’re gone will cost you in capital gains, and if that money sticks around, your inheritors will have to pay estate taxes on the leftovers.

Right now there is an estate tax exemption for everyone that adds up to about $2 million. If your estate is worth less than that, no problems because your inheritors won’t have to pay any taxes on it. Those laws are due to change in the next few years, with the estate tax being repealed entirely for the 2010 year only, then it comes back in 2011 at a different exemption rate of $1 million. Experts think it will permanently settle around $3-4 million after that, which is good.

Then there’s the income tax part of the equation. Once your collection goes through probate and your estate is settled, your inheritors get the vehicles with their current market value: $500,000. That $500,000 has already counted against your estate tax exemption of $2 million, whether taxes have been paid or not due to the exemption. So the inheritors, <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">even if they immediately sell the cars, don’t have to pay income tax on them even though they’ve received an “income” of $500,000</span></span>. However, if the estate tax goes away in 2010 and that’s when you die, your inheritors will pay income tax on what you paid for the collection ($100,000), NOT on its current value ($500,000). Nobody knows what will happen after 2010. Strangely, this current tax arrangement seems like a pretty good setup for regular Joes who aren’t worth millions—I’d figure that the government would really stick it to us in a situation like this.

The down side of this, of course, is the inheritor’s long-term estate tax burden. Since the collection is essentially “tax neutral” when it comes to <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">your </span></span>estate (because of the exemption rule), nobody will have to pay taxes on it. Your inheritors, however, will inherit a sizeable tax burden for when they die. This is because they received the collection at its $100,000 value and as a result, <span style="font-style: italic">instantly</span> accrue all the collection’s value themselves. Essentially, as soon as your inheritors receive the collection, it is worth its market value of $500,000 for the purposes of <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">their </span></span>estate. Of course, this isn’t counting any additional appreciation that the collection may experience during their lifetime. So at the end of their life, they are faced with the same situation, with the collection now using up a significantly greater amount of their estate tax exemption (if it even exists when they die—since the laws don’t exist beyond 2011, nobody knows what it will look like).

Even if you give it to someone before you die, depending on when you do it, it still factors into the estate tax calculations. Do it a long time before you die, it becomes income for the recipient, and they’ll get sacked with a giant tax bill based on the current value of the collection. Do it a few years before you die, and it’s still part of your estate because it looks like you were trying to liquidate it to avoid paying taxes. They’ll undoubtedly catch that. There’s no way to avoid the tax man like this, but he gets $0 if it goes to an inheritor after you die and you remain under the exemption limit. I know there is a one-time gift provision in the tax code, but I don't know the limits of its value or the details of its application.

I don’t know that it is as easy as “selling” it to someone for $2500 before you die as someone above suggested, but I don’t know how they would catch you doing that, either. If the rest of your estate is quite valuable, but you sold a bunch of cars for chump change when you got old, I think that might show up on someone’s radar. While they’re not experts on old cars (or even as smart as rocks), I think that folks at the DMV can recognize this sort of thing pretty easily now. And don’t forget, they’ll know how much YOU paid for it, because they collected sales tax on it. If it was decades ago, who knows, but if it was recently, the BS detectors might go off. However, the tax rules I uncovered above seem to suggest that this kind of deception is unnecessary, and it is probably cheaper to just let them inherit the car, all things considered.

Then there’s the charity angle we discussed, such as donating it to a museum. Don’t will it to a museum after you die, donate it before you check out. Depending on what kind of organization they are, willing it to a museum may saddle them with these same tax burdens that they may not want to accept. They may be forced to sell the cars just to cover the costs of inheriting them. Donating the collection before you die will remove it from your estate’s tax burden and entitle you to an income tax deduction which you can use if you donate while you’re still alive. The amount of the income tax deduction depends on how the charity uses the collection. If they sell the collection, your deduction is limited to your initial $100,000 investment. But if they use the cars in a continuing fashion, such as putting them on permanent display, you get the entire $500,000 value as a deduction. That could really save you a lot of money while you’re alive, although you have to work out with the charity in advance how, exactly, the collection will be used. Just remember that anything you save on income taxes will potentially be counted against your estate when you die.

OK, with that part of the equation analyzed, let’s look at the “personal” side of it. Since you don’t have any descendants or family to take care of when you’re gone, and the collection is what you really care most about, the rest of your estate (house, possessions, retirement funds, etc.) can be liquidated in any fashion you specify: probate, donations, selling it off before you’re gone to enjoy the benefits, a reverse mortgage, whatever. The system you’re proposing could be very useful, especially if there is an unbroken chain of inheritors down the line: I inherit your collection and then will it to someone else, and so on. Given what I’ve been able to divine (and I may not be 100% correct—we would need an expert), this will pretty much keep the tax man’s hands off it indefinitely as long as there’s an estate tax exemption that we fall under. Once you go over the exemption, it gets more complicated than I can deduce myself.

In my case, and in talking it over with my wife, she would be in favor of this as long as losing my collection in this way won’t leave her destitute. If I have a $1 million life insurance policy, she doesn’t care one bit. If all my money is tied up in the cars, well, of course she’d rather sell them so she doesn’t have to live in a box on the street. And if there’s one with sentimental attachment, she’d want that exempted, too (for example, I’m hoping to restore a Buick Special convertible of some sort for her to enjoy). I think a provision like this would have to be part of the agreement—for example, I’d have to maintain a life insurance policy of a certain value in order for the agreement to remain valid.

There would also have to be some kind of exit clause. Say my garage burned down, taking everything with it. Or I lose all my money to a Nigerian scam artist and have to sell the collection just to keep food on the table, or some other unknowable thing. There would have to be a clause in there that would invalidate the agreement in the event of hardship. The agreement would also have to be amended every time a new car is added to the collection, whether purchased or even traded. Or perhaps the collection could be defined in a way that permitted changes in its content. It would be inconvenient to rewrite the agreement every time I buy a car. Perhaps it would be better defined as all cars owned by Matthew Harwood except xxx and xxx and/or any vehicle newer than 2005 that is driven more than 5000 miles a year for non-pleasure purposes or something like that. That’s a question for the lawyers, I guess.

As far as one person altering the agreement without the consent of the other, I think that’s impossible. Everything involved with something like this would require all participants’ approval and signatures to be valid—it isn’t like my mother-in-law (the battleaxe) who recently wrote Julia out of her will. Ultimately, I don’t know that what we’re talking about is a will anyway, but may function as one in the case of the cars. I have no worries about alterations of the documents. Perhaps a better idea would be to place the cars in a trust with someone named as trustee who supervises their care without taking ownership. Again, a question for people with experience in these areas.

Of course, there is, as you point out, the disparity of the value of the collections. Obviously your collection is much, much more valuable than mine is at present. Now, I’m not done collecting, but I can’t say what the future holds. I plan to own at least one more Buick (the aforementioned convertible for Julia) and a ’33 or ’34 Packard in the not so distant future, plus I currently own a low-mile Mustang that may or may not appreciate. Nevertheless, it’s possible that one collection will out-value the other.

Whether this matters is, of course, up to the participants, not the law. My personal point of view is that since I’ll be dead, I won’t care about the collection any more. To the inheritor, it’s still a windfall no matter how big or small. At best, your cars will come into my care. At worst, I’ll be dead and the disposition of my collection won’t matter to me anyway. The fact that I would “benefit” (i.e. get cars with greater value) more than you in this case seems moot—it’s not really a trade or something that we’ll both be around to enjoy. The cars don’t go anywhere until you’re dead, and after you’re dead their value to you is meaningless right? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that, however, because I can certainly understand that concern.

Basically, while you’re alive, you enjoy the full value of your collection, with the additional possibility of inheriting more cars when the other guy dies. At that point, the survivor becomes the cars’ caretaker.

This is also ignoring that part of this proposed agreement that stipulates that the cars are not to be sold or otherwise liquidated by the inheritor. Consequently, inheriting a collection is not a financial gain at all, and depending on the future tax laws, could actually be a sizeable <span style="font-style: italic">liability</span>. In fact, it might be a money loser because the inheritor would have to house, insure and maintain them indefinitely. That would require considerable commitment on the inheritor’s side. As a result, the value of the collection might be irrelevant from the donor’s point of view.

That said, I wonder if there's any way to prevent someone from selling off the collection once it comes into their possession. A trust would probably eliminate this problem.

This program could also be arranged with a group of people, with no single person inheriting an entire collection, which would minimize the potential liabilities for the inheritor(s). We could specify who gets what and divide our respective collections among several people. Again, this would have to be clearly spelled out in the document and will add to the complexity by an order of magnitude. If my experience with trying to own a storage facility with a group of other hobbyists is common, surely there will be squabbling. But it might be a way to average out the values of the collections so that the playing field, so to speak, is more level. This would be more complicated than I can figure out myself, however.

Now, whether this is a good deal for you from an age standpoint, is certainly something to consider and requires greater discussion. If I’m 38, and you’re 95, well, I can see how that might affect things. You’re not likely to enjoy any benefit from this arrangement. But if the goal is merely to ensure that the cars go to a good home and will continue to be used and cherished in a way that you approve of, does it really matter? Getting something for nothing isn’t really the intent of this arrangement, although it is the technical result.

I would like to also stress that as honorable people, the participants in this agreement probably aren’t doing it for this chance at a “lottery” type score. As you say in your proposal, the goal is to make sure the cars don’t get cut up or neglected—the cars are the reason for this, not the other person’s benefit. I’d want the same for my cars, into which I have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I personally wouldn’t have any problem entering this agreement with a person with a lesser collection as long as the important parts of my former life are taken care of (wife, house, etc.). I was already thinking about giving the cars away to someone who is not family without any reciprocity anyway.

I think I would take a lot of comfort knowing that a person I liked, admired and respected, especially one who is passionate and qualified, would enjoy my cars after I was gone. Imagine some doofus at Barrett-Jackson buying your car just because they had cash to burn and liked being on TV. Imagine that guy clashing the gears as he tries to drive his new "prize" home. With this arrangement, at least you would know the other fellow(s) who would be carrying on for you. If you don't like them, don't jump into bed with them. Easy.

The cars would be my legacy and the person who inherits them would hopefully honor that in a respectful way. I don’t think I would ever call your cars “mine” and would make some kind of effort to keep your name attached to them in a way that was very visible, so that people would understand how much you loved them. Something to memorialize the collection could also be written into the agreement, though I can’t at the moment think of anything that would be significant. My ego isn’t big enough for me to even conceive any possibilities. Again, perhaps a trust would accommodate such a thing better than simple exchanging of ownership.

OK, I’ve spent enough time on this. I’m interested and curious, even from a purely academic standpoint. Perhaps there’s already a precedent out there for this situation that we have not uncovered yet. Or maybe it’s all just daydreaming. Either way, I’d be willing to pursue it and at least have my father do some more serious thinking on it.

Regards.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If you have kids, put the titles to the cars in the kids names when you're around 75 years old. Just go down to the BMV & sell them the car for around $2500 or so</div></div>What my dad and I did was had everything co-owned, co-registered, and co-insured. This way if something happens to either one of us, both names are there, there's no inheritance issues, and nothing can get sold unless both of us agree.

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My situation is quite different from yours. I have two handicapped children in wheel chairs, 11 and 14, and they will need all the boost that they could get if something were to happen to me before they are out on there own. Even if they do get on their own they still may require help. As far as the rest of my relatives go, I would not leave any of them my prized 15 Buick. At this point it would be sold as neither of my children would never be able to drive or maintain it ever for the rest of their lives. The future may change that at some point.

I still refer to the 1915 Buick as It was "Joylans" car. As, even though, I did purchase it from the estate, I would not have it if it was not for my now dearly departed friend. There is something about having a sentimental attachment that seems to make having it seem almost larger than life.

I also have a 1924 15-30 McCormick-Deering tractor that belonged to an old friend. I also had to buy it from the estate but still refer to it as Albert's tractor.

If I was in the right position, I think I would rather see the benefits of the collection go to helping out the less fortunate. In the case with children with the same problem as mine, it could go to modify the homes that they live in to give them a better quality of life for parents that are not finically able to modify a house to the handicapped persons needs, or towards a vehicle to transport the handicapped children.

After you are gone the cars may or may not be taken care of the way that you wish. Even museums close and collections are sold off. All we can do is hope for the best. At least, in my opinion, some good would come from it in a way that would help humanly. What would be a greater gift???

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Hey Matt, something to remember here. Let says an old guy has a car collection that he accumulated over decades, is worth $500,000, and then he dies. During probate, who is appraising the cars for $500,000? Usually with estate things like this, you're getting a bank appraiser who doesn't know much about old cars. Usually cars get appraised "way low" of their real value by bank appraisers -hence less tax to pay. Believe me, our friend with all the Big D's who lives next door to you has his estate all set up & protected so no tax will be paid. I wouldn't be supprised if all those cars are already in other family members names.

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I'm sure that's all true, K. I'm not a tax expert, so what I have up there is just what I was able to glean from a series of articles I found. I'm certain there are many more complications to settling an estate than I covered, and it would probably make my head hurt to think about them. But a will or some kind of arrangement for the disposal/transfer of assets can make the process a lot easier.

In the situation we're discussing, I don't know how values would be determined or what kind of effect they would have on the process. If the only concern is for the transfer of the cars to another collector, then perhaps the rest of the estate can be used to settle the tax debt if there is one. But remember, you have to be worth more than $2 million for this to be a factor.

I do know that some kind of appraisal by some kind of expert (I don't know what kind of credentials you need to be qualified) has to be done to settle an estate if there's no will. My uncle had a vast collection of baseball cards, many of them incredibly valuable. When he died, my father had to have the collection appraised and inventoried by some kind of baseball card appraiser/dealer/collector. Of course, that someone also ended up buying the entire collection for one price, so who knows what the numbers really meant.

A trust of some kind might be a better solution. I'm having dinner with my father and I'll make it a point of conversation to persue this.

You can bet rich guys have things set up to avoid the estate tax, and there must be many ways around it. I know someone who has a life insurance policy that is specifically designed to pay the estate taxes when he goes.

I don't think I'll ever need to do that myself, though... frown.gif

PS: I have real concerns, after meeting my neighbor's son, about what will happen to that collection. I'm sure the tax angles are all arranged, but the son doesn't seem like he cares much for the cars. Maybe I should cozy up to the owner...

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Hey, Matt, are you abandoning me for your neighbor already? Geez, I hope your neighbor's wife is ugly! You really did some research into this, didn't you? That was a a good treatise on the subject, my friend. I had to put more ink into the printer to make sure I had enough to print out that length dissertation. Good work! You made the point about a storage problem acquiring an 8 car collection. The fact of the matter is that I wasn't thinking about a single reciprosity will with one individual. I was thinking about 8 separate wills with 8 individuals. That way there's a possibility of actually acquiring a couple of cars during my lifetime as well as the lifetimes of the other members involved. Putting all of the 8 proverbial eggs in one basket, especially with a younger hobbyist, isn't the most viable use of the idea. As for values, if person A had a V16 and person B had a V12 and one lesser car then a deal may be struck wherein the two lesser valued cars could be agreed upon in exchange for the pricier one. That's one way to compensate for inequality in value. By the way, you're only 250 miles from me but then again your neighbor is right next door. My next door neighbor has a 1992 Geo Storm with a bad muffler. It's good to see so much input being submitted to the topic as well as so many people reading the post. Maybe this will serve to generate personal thought and family discussion about the fate of our beloved cars. Only got one reply on the CCCA website as of last night.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Only got one reply on the CCCA website as of last night. </div></div>

Chac!

Not many of us own a Classic, but all of "us" probably own or have owned a Yugo, Geo, or Chevette( blush.gif)! smile.gif

As far as this thread goes, most of us are getting up in age too, so this topic is very important to all of us.

Wayne

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I gave this more thought yesterday. It seems that the individual's with the cars to will, wants the car to be taken care of as he would. Maintained and driven to shows. Keeped inside and out of the weather. Repaired if necessary. If the person getting the car does not have room to keep it, then a garage will need to be built or a storage fee will need to be paid. This all costs money. There are property taxes on buildings and the more you build, the higher they are. Assuming the respondsability to care and preserve our past for the future comes at a price even if the item was given to us. Also there is no guarantee the the person that recives the item will live to a ripe old age. Read the papers and you see that even the young die everyday.

In my oppinion the best way to perserve the cars would be though a "living museum" This of course would have to fall under a "not for profit" organization.

This would not be a run of the mill kind of place that just lets things sit around and collect dust like many museums that have cars that look nice but are by no means road worthy and there are lots of them out there.

The person who wills the cars could designate who they want to be a "caretaker" of the car and that person would have the right to take the car to shows and parades and take car of it as the owner would have as long as that person is of sound mind and health to do so. Also the next generation of purests could be chosen to carry on where the last left off.

With this in mind, even if you left the item to a young person there is no guarantee that they will not fall into hardship in there lives. Divorce, alcoholizum, gambling addiction, bankruptcy, drugs, tragic accident or diease. We never know what life will bring.

If you have no one to leave you estate to, you could leave the estate to the "living museum" to help with the costs of maintaining the place and the automobiles.

Everthing costs money, even keeping your "Babys" after you are gone. There are no guarantees that you friends will be able to afford to keep and mantain them.

And then there is always the next generation.......

Dave!

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Yes, Dave, you're right about not knowing what the next person who owns the car will do. Same thing applies when you sell a car. The best anyone can do is hope the decision who to will them to is a wise one based on the your best judgement. Storage and other fees associated with attaining a nice car shouldn't be anything someone would complain about considering they're getting a car without having to pay for it. They would have to shelter and otherwise take care of any car they purchased anyway. At least this way there's no cost in obtaining the car. There have been some interesting suggestions posted. I will still pursue my original idea and see if I can find others willing to consider a reciprocating will. It's going to be harder to find 'willing' people than I thought. Pun intended!

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I've seen a lot of good cars/items left out under a "shade tree" because there was no where to store it. In a few years they just deteriorate and fall apart. Many owners think they have a gold mind when indeed they have very little.

But the bottom line is that this is not about dollar value. It is about preservation of our rich automotive past for future generations.

Somthing like a "living museum" would be a gathering place of like minded individuals to do just that. The next generation could be chosen to carry on by participation and by the incentive of how to care and maintain for the automobile at hand. Others would be there as "Custodians" to see that the car was not cut up and modified, but remaind as original as possible to be road worthy. This could become a world wide thing with preservationists spread in every corner of the earth.

Just some food for thought. smile.gif Dave!

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Chacheska</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I will still pursue my original idea and see if I can find others willing to consider a reciprocating will. It's going to be harder to find 'willing' people than I thought.</div></div>

If we can work out details and get them all legal-like, I'd absolutely be in with you Karl. I love the idea. As long as Julia is taken care of, I'd rather the cars go to someone I know and trust rather than worrying about her trying to sell them herself and having the predators swarm around her. I wouldn't want to see my cars on eBay with the heading "1941 Buick! Perfect for hot rod or part out $$$$. Rat ROD!!!!!!"

Besides, who knows what the value of these cars will be in decades--perhaps with gas getting so scarce and expensive by then, they'll be useful as nothing but static art.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Besides, who knows what the value of these cars will be in decades--perhaps with gas getting so scarce and expensive by then, they'll be useful as nothing but static art. </div></div>

Museum dust collectors....... frown.gif

That's the day I give the hobby up. If I can't hear them purr, I ain't interested. wink.gif Dave!

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O.K., this topic has most likely run it's course. Matt, send me an e-mail directly and we can chat about it. I looked you up and found your address but no phone number. Anyone else who may be interested in a reciprosity will can contact me at the e-mail address below. Thanks to one and all for some great responses and good ideas!

chacheska@verizon.net

Ciao for now!

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  • 3 months later...

Gentelmen and Ladies--I now have a renewed interest in this topic due to the passing of a good friend of 32 years this past week. My friend was single, an only child at the end of his branch of the family tree. He was somewhat solitary, but very social and held events at his home for many decades. At issue this week was trying to find next of kin to begin the process of a proper burial and to begin the determination of the disposition of his estate.

Please, Please if you are single, have no family nearby (even if you do) have a folder, envelope, sheet plainly marked and leave it near the kitchen phone, in plain sight--something for the authorities to help them find your family or a friend you entrust to handle your affairs after you are gone. My friend passed unexpectantly, he was a very healty appearing 70 years of age. I helped the authorities in the search process, this would have been made easier if my friend had prepaired a "contact in case of emergency" document detailing who his relitaves are, their numbers, or any local friends he entrusted to handle his affairs.

Do it now, don't wait.

Make a will NOW, don't wait, if you want to gift your assets to a museum or group get it in the will NOW, don't wait. Tell a close friend about your will, where your safe deposit boxes are, and register a copy of your will with the county of your residence (this is optional, and isn't often done) and provie the person on your contact sheet with a copy of your burial wishes and perhaps a sealed copy of your will.

We had to unravel this all in the case of my friend, and help the county medical examiner's office piece together his family tree and burial plans.

Do this now, we just never know.

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An excellent suggestion.

And make sure that everything is in writing. Case in point, a friend had a beautifully restored sixties MG. Everytime he talked about the car it was to go to his and his wife's only child, their daughter.

Then I get a call about two years after his passing that his wife wanted to sell the car. When I mentioned it had always been promised to their daughter her exact words were, "Well, he never put it in writing. I might need the money to take care of myself so I want to sell it now."

And she did. But not with my help.

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A lot of people have said clearly that you need to leave a written will that is legally binding in your state.

Having said that and knowing that there are still people who haven't done so, then reverse the situation and look at it like this:

If you don't care what happens to your stuff, who gets it, how it is used (or not used) then don't leave a will. If you don't want your family, your college, church or charity to get what you worked a lifetime for, don't bother spending a few hours with a trusted family attorney. I can promise you that there is some government bureaucrat or lawyer (charging $400 per hour) out there somewhere who will be glad to make the decisions for you.

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I'm glad I started a thought provoking topic. It's definitely one that everyone needs to think about at some point in their lives. Sometimes it takes the death of someone you know or a family member that makes you realize just how unprepared most people are when it happens. Watching what happens to everyone else's cars go to places or people they didn't intend them to go to is a real wake up call. I admit to not being prepared well enough in the event of my demise. Currently my mother would get all my 'stuff' which, at 86, I doubt she could handle. It's definitely time to make a will and write specific information and instructions on where they are, what they're worth and who gets them. I'm one of those solitary types that needs to get my schmidt together. This is one of those inevitable events that isn't going to go away. Thanks for keeping the post alive so more people are made to think about it.

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