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Whether owners plan to donate, sell outright or leave items as part of an estate, a current appraisal is essential because it means there's no guesswork in valuation, said Andrew Kravit, president of Kravit Estate Holdings, LLC. "A lot of times, heirs have no idea of the value of what they’ve inherited; and if they sell the items, they may not get the full benefit," he added.

While the owners typically have a good idea of the value of an item, inheritors often wildly skew the numbers upward. "The owners are the level-headed ones," Kravit said. "Inheritors see things online and think they're worth much more than they are."

When items are part of an estate plan, owners often obtain appraisals because they want to ensure they are dividing tangible items evenly among future heirs. Kravit recently was asked to appraise a Patek Philippe watch and a star ruby ring one couple planned to give to their two children to determine whether they were of roughly the same value.

"In a lot of situations, we help avoid complications in the family," he said.

Andrew Kravit knows how to determine the value of jewelry, precious gemstones and the contents of a home. One of the state's few certified estate appraisers, Kravit is also a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institue of America and holds other professional credentials.

"We focus on excellence in personal property appraisal, liquidation, advisory and expert testimony," says Kravit, founder and president of Kravit Estate Appraisals LLC, a certified appraisal and estate liquidation firm in Boca Rotan with experienced appraisers in 30 asset classes, including fine art, timepieces, fine wine, coins and currency.

"We provide appraisals for tax purposes, insurance and chartiable contributions." he adds. "We also help clients maximize the value of an estate through our flexible, transparent and cost-effective liquidation services." For example, Kravit offers clients representation fo their jewelry collections to international markets for a 10 percent commission — far less than local and national auction houses.

Before launching the firm in 2012, Kravit studied gemology and spent a decade with an acquisition firm. A member of the National Assocation of Jewelry Appraisers and a Certified member of the International Society of Appraisers, Kravit provides expert testimony on valuations in legal cases.

One of the challenges facing high-net worth (HNW) individuals and their families is managing their valued collections of fine art, jewelry, antiques, wine, coins, and other treasure assets. Unlike stocks, bonds, and other liquid securities with easily determined market values, each treasure asset is unique, with its own special appeal to a collector.

Without full documentation of the asset’s purchase price, provenance, condition, appraised value, and market demand, it can be very difficult to determine the current value for insurance, tax, or estate-planning purposes. In addition, heirs or trustees may not recognize the significance of an asset or maximize its sales value if an appraisal is outdated or poorly done or the provenance is missing. That documentation problem, of course, is multiplied with large collections that may include hundreds of unique pieces.

That’s an important consideration for attorneys, accountants, and other professional advisors, since fine art, jewelry, and antiques can account for a significant component of an individual’s total wealth. A recent Barclays wealth-management report found that treasure assets comprise 9.6 percent, on average, of individuals’ total net worth.

HNW individuals also like the potential investment returns from their treasure assets. According to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report, the nine main collectibles markets grew by 175 percent over the past 10 years — a far better record than U.S. stocks. Last year, all nine categories tracked by Knight Frank increased in value except for collectible furniture; alternatively, classic cars, coins, stamps, and jewelry were the top performers.

Another issue facing HNW individuals is that fine art, jewelry, antiques, stamp and coin collections, and classic automobiles are personal possessions that may be displayed or stored in different locations. If a theft, fire or natural disaster results in a loss, the collector will need to document which treasure assets were stolen, damaged, or destroyed, as well as their individual and collective values.

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