Ask Tom: Can I Prevent My Children From Fighting Over My Personal Assets After I Die?
Chances are you own items of personal property that have monetary and sentimental value. These items could be jewelry, antiques, art, heirlooms, furniture, or sporting goods that you want a certain child, grandchild, relative, friend, charity, or other organization to receive after your death.
You may not be concerned about who receives certain items, but would like harmony in the way distributions are made. Providing an orderly way for your belongings to be divided after you are gone will help avoid the horror stories you may have heard. The last thing any grieving family needs is to fight over Grandma’s silverware, jewelry, or china cabinet.
Here are some suggestions to help prevent this from happening in your family:
Special Gifts List: Make a list for the distribution of certain special personal property gifts you would like to have made to a specific person after your death. Such lists can be included as part of your estate planning documents and should be referred to by your will or revocable trust. To prevent disagreements about your intentions, be very specific. Sign and date the list, and keep it with your estate planning documents. The list can be changed by you at any time by making a new list and destroying the old list.
Ask What They Want: An item may have special meaning to your loved ones, so ask your children and others if there is a specific item they would like to have. You can then include this item on your list of gifts.
Gift Now: Consider making a gift now if there are items that you no longer use, or if you are concerned there might be a problem later. You can provide information and referee distribution now by gathering your children together and have them take turns selecting items they want. A side benefit of this approach is you have the pleasure of watching the recipient enjoy the gift while you are alive.
JensenBayles, LLP provides a broad spectrum of legal services. Thomas J. Bayles has been actively providing advice in the areas of trusts, wills, probate and tax planning in the St. George market for over 18 years. Please visit our web site www.jensenbayles.com or call 435-674-9718 and ask for Thomas J. Bayles. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice.