Advice on Personal Items

Most of the estate disputes that get reported, involve large fortunes that are being fought over. In reality, most family estate fights involve much smaller things such as personal items.

You may not realize it, but many of the personal items you have around the house have a special meaning to your adult children. Some items might remind them of childhood memories. Some items might remind them of you. Other items they just might like for one reason or another.

While you are alive, these items are unlikely to cause any problems. However, after you pass away, they could very well cause problems for your estate.

If you have more than one child that wants a particular piece of personal property, there needs to be a way for them to decide who gets it, as Business Vancouver points out in “Wills: Leave’em laughing.”

There are several different things you can do to make sure that your children do not argue over your possessions. If you want a child to have something in particular, then you can give it to them before you pass away or you can make specific designations in your estate plan.

Another method is to direct that your children use a reverse draft method. One child picks an item. Then the next child goes and so on. When every child has picked something, then the order of choosing is reversed and they all pick again.

A list could also be presented to each child of all the important items and they can rank them all by preference. The estate executor can then use those rankings to guide the distribution of personal items.

The important thing is that you need to think about the potential problems in your estate plan and have a way for those problems to be resolved.

Reference: Business Vancouver (Jan. 31, 2017) “Wills: Leave’em laughing.”

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