Estate Planning for Special Assets

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2019 | estate planning

When you begin the process of estate planning, you should make sure to include special assets in your estate plans. Special assets are assets that need special consideration because of their value, significance, or the nature of the asset itself. For some special assets, you will need to designate a special trustee. 

It is important to make sure that your estate plans are prepared by an experienced California estate planning attorney. The attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver are here to help you with your estate planning needs. Our attorneys have many years of experience handling estate planning cases in all stages of litigation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to meet with one of the Galanti and Copenhaver attorneys to discuss your estate planning needs.

Special Assets–Businesses

One common special asset many people own is a business. There is much to consider while addressing your business in your estate plans. If your business requires a license or a special form of expertise, such as a law firm or a doctor’s office, then you will need to have a special administrator or a special trustee appointed to administer the asset. For example, the owner of a law firm would select another attorney to act as the special trustee to manage the special asset. A doctor who owns their own practice would select another doctor to act as a special trustee and to wrap up the business affairs and to transfer the net proceeds of the business to the general trustee.

Special Assets–Family Property and Real Estate

Some families have real estate properties that have been in the family for multiple generations. If you are the owner of such a property, it is important to address that property, and associated issues within your estate plans to make things easier for your beneficiaries. One option you have under these circumstances is to create a house trust. With a house trust, you can ensure that the home is used and enjoyed by your chosen beneficiaries, along with their families and guests. This is also one way to avoid having your family home sold during the distribution process.

Special Assets–Guns and Firearms

If you own guns or firearms, you will need to have specific estate plans in place for these items, since there are special rules associated with them, and they are considered special assets. Since guns require a firearm’s license, a gun collection can be held in what is called a gun trust that is managed by a trustee with a firearm’s license. After this has been established, the trustee may allow for the guns to be shared with the beneficiaries, and also for the guns to be managed and stored by designated individuals.

Special Assets–Valuables and Family Heirlooms 

Special jewelry and other valuables with sentimental value must be itemized and kept in a secure location. Some people choose to distribute special valuables and family heirlooms while they are alive to make sure that each person does receive a special item, particularly if there is sentimental value. If you opt to not give these special assets away during your lifetime, then you should make sure that a trustworthy person is responsible for the distribution of these items according to your wishes after you die. You can choose to give this responsibility to the trustee you have already chosen, or you can designate a special trustee to handle these duties. Whomever you choose should have access to the safe or other location where these valuables are kept.

Special Assets–Pets

When most people think of assets or even special assets, pets often do not immediately spring to mind, but they are considered assets, and you should account for their future care while making your estate plans. You may want to consider designating someone in your estate plans to take ownership of your pet upon your death so that you can make sure they are going to be cared for. 

You can also set up a trust and power of attorney with instructions on how to use your resources for pay for vet visits, and other needs. If you do not have someone in mind to take on ownership of your pet after your death, you can also provide instructions for the use of a specific organization to accept and rehome your pet for you.


Special assets require unique considerations during your estate planning. Contact an experienced California estate planning attorney today at Galanti and Copenhaver to help you ensure that you are properly accounting for your special assets in your estate plans.