Distributing Personal Possessions
Organizing and planning an estate is not a simple process. After deciding who should receive major assets like your house, business, investments, and retirement accounts, you may need to use a variety of vehicles to distribute those assets, such as wills, gifts, and trusts. Dealing with major assets may be so time-consuming that you don’t even think about your personal possessions, leaving distribution decisions up to your heirs. But disputes over personal possessions are more apt to cause conflict among heirs than disputes over money. Some items to consider include:
Take time to think about who should receive treasured personal possessions. You might want to detail your wishes in a separate letter to your heirs to prevent disagreements. Indicate why you are distributing possessions in that manner.
Ask your heirs what possessions are important to them. Otherwise, you may inadvertently give a treasured possession to one child without realizing its importance to another child. Children may then try to read motives into your decisions that didn’t actually exist.
Don’t distribute assets based on arbitrary criteria. You don’t necessarily have to give your jewelry to your daughter or tools to your son. Your son might want to pass on some of your jewelry to his wife or daughter. Likewise, don’t give your most valued possessions to your oldest child without considering younger siblings.
Devise a method for heirs to distribute personal possessions. You probably won’t want to decide how every personal possession should be distributed. After you have determined how to distribute your most valued possessions, detail a method for heirs to distribute the rest of your possessions. It can be as simple as having heirs take turns selecting items or flipping a coin if more than one person is interested in an item.
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This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.