Tips on Accounting for Family Heirlooms
Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch recently ran a report that noted baby boomers put more value in personal keepsakes than money when it came to bequests.
How do those putting together an estate plan account for these items? There are three things that can help:
- Communication. When attempting to decide what item should go to which person, it can help to have an open conversation with loved ones. There may be an item that means very little to one person but holds high sentimental value to another. Gathering this information can help one to make more informed bequests. This discussion can also help one to explain why he or she is choosing to bequest a beloved item to a specific person, potentially reducing the risk of strife when the bequest is officially made.
- Memorandums. Generally, an estate plan includes a will, various health care documents and possibly a trust. In addition, estate plans can also include a memorandum. A memorandum allows you to outline exactly who is receiving which item.
- Professionals. Choosing someone to carry out an estate plan is difficult. Instead of giving this power to a family member or friend, the use of a neutral, professional third party can be beneficial. This can help to reduce the emotional conflict that can be tied to the administration of an estate plan.
Regardless of the method you choose to distribute your heirlooms, it is always wise to contact a professional. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you draft an estate plan that better ensures your wishes are met.