Money is typically what comes to mind first when one thinks about estate planning, but how do you split personal items in an estate? Of course its important to plan how your assets will be distributed after you’re gone, but your personal items may be even more valuable to your heirs. Your money won’t hold any sentimental value, but your loved ones may hold value in your other possessions. Since personal belongings cant be divided evenly, you need to have a specific plan. Here’s how to split personal items in an estate.
How Do You Split Personal Items in an Estate?
Talk to your family.
We always recommend talking to your loved ones about your estate plan. While it may be difficult to bring up, why not ask them if there’s any particular items that they would want when you’re gone? Maybe there’s a special serving platter you use for holidays that your daughter has always been fond of and eventually would like to keep for the memories. This may be something you hadn’t even thought of. Having the conversations beforehand can also help alleviate any tension if there are things that multiple family members have their eyes on.
Make a list of your items.
This one may seem tedious, but having a list of your items can keep everything organized when the time comes to disburse your estate. You may already have a list of your assets, but a list of personal and physical items can be a huge help to your family. Include a description of each item, location of the item, and who the item should be left to. Sometimes you may name an item in your estate plan to be left to a certain person but they may not know where to find it or even what it is. This process may also inspire you to sell or donate items or even plan for future donations once you’re gone. Making a list ahead of time can help during a trying time when they should be focusing on grieving.
Make copies of what you can.
Not all of our personal items need to be singular. Making copies of family photos or videos is a great way to share the wealth and keep your family history alive. As technology advances there’s also many ways to digitize your items and share electronically. Whether you do this on your own, or use a service to digitize things, you can create an electronic family vault that shares photos, videos, documents, recipes, etc., with the whole family and takes away the burden of passing on more “stuff”.
While we never want to think of the day that we can’t be with our loved ones, taking the time we still have with them to make the estate administration process as easy as possible is one of the best ways to show them you care. So how do you split personal items in an estate? Hopefully after reading this you are inspired to do so in a loving an organized way, keeping your family at peace.
Do you need help with starting the estate planning process or updating an old plan? If you’re in Illinois or Wisconsin, we’re here to help. Contact us and let us know how we can help.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.