Heirlooms may have substantial value for you or your loved ones, but it is important to consider having conversations around these items and structuring clear estate plan intentions for their future, otherwise your loved ones may end up arguing in court over an item that has far less value than what ends up being spent on the probate dispute.
If you avoid talking about heirlooms for life, this could leave open the possibility for disagreements and frustration among family members in the future.
Here’s what to do when considering family heirlooms:
- Include specific wishes about passing on heirlooms through a will or trust that gives a layer of confidence and clarity.
- If you have beneficiaries cannot agree on who gets what, consider a sit-down conversation to discuss possible options.
- Consider choosing a personal representative to help divvy up the heirlooms after you have passed away. This can also be your estate executor.
- Find alternative systems for things people cannot agree on. One recent Wall Street Journal study found that people did things like created duplicates of jewelry, drew straws, or made photocopies of cherished paper goods address conflicts in these ways.
- Do not use sticky notes. Use color coded stickers instead since these can last much longer and are harder to move when you’re set in your decisions.
Heirlooms can easily become a battleground in probate court, especially if estate planning directions are too general or unclear. The best way to address heirlooms is to consider your wishes first, then talk to a Pasadena estate planning lawyer about how to structure all your documents and strategies. You can leave a detailed plan that ensures the right people receive the assets you intended for them.