An often-overlooked estate planning topic is the distribution of personal items. When parents die, the fights between the children are often over THINGS, not necessarily money. The biggest source of unhappiness can be over who received the jewelry or the gun collection. It is not uncommon for the most coveted item to be something that has very little, or no, monetary or resale value. Rather, the items with "sentimental" value can create a permanent rift in the family.

Put It in Writing

It is important to talk to your children to find out what they would like and hope to receive. You may be surprised by which items they hold dear or have always assumed would be coming to them after your death. If you decide that the jewelry, or artwork, or other "one-of-a-kind" items should go to a particular person, then you need to put that in writing. Either use a codicil to your Will or create a handwritten, dated and signed list that you keep with your estate planning documents.

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