When it comes to estate planning, you may think that your primary concern is how to distribute money and real estate assets to your beneficiaries. However, you also need to think about your tangible property, especially items of sentiment. In fact, sentimental items are often at the center of many family arguments and hurt feelings. This is why you need to account for items of sentiment in your estate planning. Here are some things you should know.
When Should You Disperse Sentimental Items?
There are several ways you can go about dealing with items of sentiment. You can leave then items in your will, you can include them in a trust, or you can let your loved ones have the sentimental items before you pass away.
Why Would You Disperse Items Before You Pass Away?
There are several reasons why you might want to disperse sentimental items before you pass away. One benefit is you will know who wants which item. You may be surprised at what one of your beneficiaries may prefer. Broach the subject with your family members to gauge what they may wish to have. You can then make your decisions and disperse your assets accordingly.
Allowing your family to have your sentimental items comes with many benefits. One of the best benefits is you get to see your loved ones enjoy their items. If you pass down an antique rocking chair to your daughter, you will get to enjoy watching her rock your grandchild to sleep. Dispersing items before you pass away can also head off any disagreements among your loved ones. You may even enjoy walking down memory lane with your loved ones as you disperse your sentimental items.
Why Would You Wait to Include Items in Your Will or Trust?
If you prefer to wait to disperse sentimental items, you can include your desires in your will or place your desires in a trust. You can still discuss with your loved ones who prefers to have which items but arrange for the transfer to occur once you pass away. This is your right and you may have your own reasons for going this route. Perhaps you are still utilizing the items or you still enjoy having them in your possession.
When you include items in a will or trust, you must be specific as to who receives which items. Do not leave a vague statement in your will that simply states your personal property is to be divided among your children, for instance. This only creates confusion and sets your family up for arguments. Instead, create a list of the sentimental items and who is to receive it so there is no confusion.
For more information or help with your will, contact an estates and trusts attorney.