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Why you need to inventory your physical possessions for divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2020 | Divorce

Many of the most valuable assets you’ve acquired or accumulated during your marriage are financial assets like retirement accounts or possessions so large that you can’t physically move them, such as your home. You probably already intend to get your fair share of these items in a divorce.

However, you likely have thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands, of dollars tied up in physical possessions as well. The higher your overall income, the more likely it is that you will have physical assets worth a substantial amount of money. Jewelry, art, collectibles and even furniture can sometimes represent large amounts of money.

If you believe that divorce is in your immediate future, don’t just focus on the biggest, most expensive assets when considering the property division process. You also need to think about your physical possessions and how much money they might represent.

Place value even on items you have no interest in owning

Choosing to quickly split up physical possessions early in the divorce process is one of the bigger mistakes that a high-asset couple could make. Your spouse could easily walk away with thousands of dollars in hidden value.

For example, if you tell your spouse that they can keep their entire art collection as long as you get to keep your movie collection, that might seem like a fair trade because you both get to keep the items associated with your hobbies. However, your individual movies may have a value of about $20 each, while each piece of their fine art collection may be worth thousands of dollars.

Although you don’t have an interest in keeping any of those weird paintings, you do deserve a fair portion of their value if you purchased them as a couple or with marital assets. In order to secure an equitable outcome, you will need to put a value on physical possessions that reflects their current fair market value.

Professional valuation is often worthwhile

Why would you want to pay someone to look over your possessions and figure out what they are worth? The answer is simple. That professional will know what the current value of an item is, allowing you to create a more accurate inventory of your household assets.

The price that you paid for that item years ago likely no longer reflects its value. Having a professional put a price on the assets will give you a more reasonable idea about the value of your estate and what would be a fair portion of it for you. Until you know what items you have and what they are worth, it will be difficult to push for a fair outcome in your divorce.