When it comes to estate planning, families need to work through the details of how property and personal belongings will be handled after death. Sometimes the most challenging aspect is knowing what should be done with those items that have sentimental value.
Don’t Overlook Sentimental Items
It is important to put a plan in place for big-ticket items, such as investments, retirement accounts, and expensive items. Market value can be estimated on real estate and vehicles, but these things aren’t usually the most important in a person’s life. It is equally important, if not more, to consider sentimental items such as jewelry, paintings, antiques, and more. These items might have a modest monetary value, but you can’t put a price tag on the memories associated with a family heirloom.
Too often, the sentimental items are overlooked in the will and estate planning process. Then, the family gets caught in emotionally-charged situations as siblings and relatives encounter disputes over how the items should be distributed. Sometimes, the result is litigation – and the legal fees can cost much more than the value of the items in question.
Creating a Personal Property Memorandum
As you are working through the details of your will or trust, it can be too burdensome to work through the details of every personal item. If changes need to be made, then these documents must be amended legally. Instead of going through the hassle, it is more convenient to design a personal property memorandum. This document shares instructions for how personal property should be distributed.
A personal property memorandum is a legally binding document that should be referred to in your will. The benefit is that you have the flexibility to change the memorandum or add other items without the need for a formal change of will. Taking this step right now is a great way to express your wishes, helping to reduce the likelihood of disputes after you are gone. You might even include an explanation regarding why certain items are left to specific people.
Local Estate Planning Services
At Miles & Hatcher, LLP, we are here to assist when you need legal assistance. Our team is here to provide support for all of your estate planning needs. Call to schedule a free consultation: (909) 481-4080.