During estate planning, people tend to focus on big-ticket items, such as real estate, vehicles, business, retirement plans and personal investments. While these assets have a high monetary value, they’re usually more straightforward and less contentious than other items with some sentimental value.
You shouldn’t treat items with sentimental value as an afterthought when making your estate plan. Although family heirlooms and other personal items may not have a high monetary value, they can cause disputes amongst your heirs on who gets what.
Here are a few tips for distributing your sentimental items.
Include your heirs in the estate planning process
One of the best ways to prevent a dispute amongst your heirs later is to simply talk with them in advance. You can ask them what sentimental value items they’re most interested in. This will help you understand any specific requests and work them into a formal estate plan. You can also choose to give out sentimental items as gifts while you’re still alive. Again, this will help prevent disputes later.
In addition, if you discuss the distribution of sentimental items with your family members, it means all your heirs will have a say in the creation of the estate plan. Therefore, even when one doesn’t get exactly what they wanted, they will most likely accept the decision since they played a part in it.
Include a personal property statement
You can also avoid disputes amongst your heirs over sentimental items by including a personal property statement. This statement includes a list of all your personal items and instructions on who should get what.
When making your estate plan, it’s crucial that you include all your assets. It’s equally important that you know all the legal steps you can take to ensure your estate plan is complete and has a better chance of preventing a dispute among your loved ones.