Handling Rare Coins and Special Assets in Trust or Estate Administration

by | Aug 26, 2021 | trusts

Trust or estate administration may involve many different special assets beyond just the distribution of real estate and financial accounts. These special assets, including rare coins, should be handled carefully throughout the trust or estate administration process.

If you have questions or concerns about handling rare coins and other special assets in trust or estate administration, an attorney who practices law in that area can help. The California attorneys at Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. have many years of experience successfully assisting clients with trust and estate administration. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to meet with one of our attorneys and learn more about how we can help you.

What Are Special Assets?

In estate planning, the term special assets can include things like private business interests and properties. Generally, this category of assets includes things that are difficult to convert to cash or more liquid investments.

Special assets may require a little bit of extra work during the trust or estate administration process. For many financial accounts and other types of assets, the process of liquidating the asset and the eventual distribution to the beneficiaries is relatively straightforward. With special assets, there may be more work required to obtain the valuation of the product and determine what it is truly worth.

What Are Rare Coins?

Rare coins are a timeless and tangible connection to history. Many people have coin collections, with some more valuable than others. Three main factors usually determine the value of a rare coin.

Unusual and Rare Coins

First, the more rare or unusual the coin is—typically, the more valuable it is. Since the mid-1980s, records are kept of how many coins from a given date and denomination have been made. These records are called population reports and offer accurate data that can be used to determine how rare the coin is.

Condition of the Coin

Another factor in determining the value of a coin is the condition that it is in. Generally, the higher the grade is, the more desirable and rarer the coin will be.


The demand of the rare coins in the collection is another major factor in the value. evaluating the value of a rare coin collection for trust and estate administration purposes, it can be advantageous to have an expert do the assessment. An expert in the area of rare coins will know the true value of a coin or collection of coins based on a combination of the above factors.

What Should I Know About Handling Rare Coins in Trust or Estate Administration?

First, it is essential to ensure that you have located all of the coins in the decedent’s collection. It is helpful to go through the coins and make an inventory of what the collection contains.

One important thing to keep in mind as you begin the inventory process of the coins is that you should not clean them. While it may seem like a newer-looking, shinier coin would be more valuable—you could actually damage the coins by permanently altering their original surfaces. This is especially true with very old coins.

You should also develop a plan to ensure that you carefully store the coins throughout the administration process. Depending on how the decedent treated their collection prior to their passing, storage measures may already be in place. 

At some point, the rare coin collection will need to be transported to the selling location or distributed to the beneficiaries. It is best to have a plan to transport the rare coins before they are sold or distributed.

What Should Be Done with the Rare Coins in the Trust or Estate?

Whether the rare coins are donated, sold, or distributed to beneficiaries depends on the terms of the trust or estate documents. In many cases, there will be specific directions indicating the decedent’s intentions for the coins.

If there is nothing in the trust or estate documents regarding what should be done with the coins, you can resolve the issue in a few different ways. In some cases, the beneficiaries may decide together to sell the coins and divide up the value. 

If the rare coins are to be sold, they should first be assessed for value. Choosing to work with a coin dealer may be a good idea due to their experience handling expensive and rare coins.

Ultimately, the trust or estate documents should provide guidance on how to handle a rare coin collection. A trust and estate administration attorney can help you with any questions you may have regarding the handling of this type of asset.

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