Estate Planning Tips

Estate planning shouldn’t be all about your wealth, who gets your golf clubs or toolbox. Your amateur radio station, regardless of size, has a financial investment to it that should not be denied to your family, friends, or institutions which you support. Keeping records of your equipment and the value of each and every item will expedite the disposal of your radio equipment while also decreasing the strain on your survivors.

Two negatives your survivors will encounter are those who tell the survivors to give everything away and get it done with. Can you imagine giving away and Apache Labs SDR, a Flex radio, or any of the contest grade transceivers from the big three (Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu)? What would happen to all the hardware outside the shack if Silent Key was a contester? You would be thoughtless of the SK to give away an antenna system that they put together with a lot of planning, physical work, and don’t forget the financial outlay.

Warn your survivors to beware of the vultures once your estate is about to be disposed of. You know the type; they swoop in with a roll of cash in their hand flashing before your survivor’s eyes. They act as if they’re doing the SK’s estate a favor when they “taking it off your hands” will get rid of everything in an expedited manner. Sure it will, the question is how much will the estate lose by allowing these vultures a chance to liquidate the SK’s estate.

QST has included some excellent materials in the past that every amateur radio operator should read over and then consider putting a plan of their own in effect. Dino Papas, KL0S wrote an article for the September 2019 issue of QST that gives applicable information for the topic of liquidating an SK’s radio-related items. Dino, KL0S advises us to:

•Have a will.
•Have a document handy telling how to advise ARRL of your passing.
•In this same document, a link to the FCC site to cancel your license or reassign your callsign.
•Compile and maintain documentation of your equipment, its cost, and resale value.

Dino, KL0S also advises us to have a representative who will act as a buffer between your survivors and those interested in your radio equipment. Should you have one or more items you wish to donate to an individual, club, or other organization, then you should have a separate page in your documentation stating who gets what.

In closing Dino’s post about disposing of estate items:

•Have a condensed list of equipment for sale to be given to clubs for distribution.
•Announce unique on nets about the equipment manufacturer, or other nets.
•Try to get the family a good return on the sale of the equipment.
•Use good record keeping!
•Provide the proceeds promptly; don’t wait until everything is sold.
•Create a memorial from the family using some smaller items, the SK callsign badge, maybe an award or two. This will show the SK’s survivors how relevant Amateur Radio was to the SK.