After a loved one passes away, one of the main sources of conflict comes from the division of personal items rather than financial allotment. To avoid situations like this from occurring with your family members after you go, you can choose to allocate certain assets with sentimental value while planning your estate. However, there are a few extra steps involved if you hope to add those assets to your will.
You must plan where your assets will go after you pass away, especially if you want to ensure that certain sentimental items are allocated to the right individuals. If you or your spouse are looking to establish a way to secure the future of your assets, take a look below.
Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance
When planning your estate and where to allocate your sentimental assets, it is necessary to understand the difference between a will, a living trust, and an inheritance. This distinction can provide you with a better idea of how you can appropriately distribute your assets between family members and loved ones, according to your wishes.
- Will: This document, sometimes known as a last will and testament, expresses how you wish to have your estate divided after you pass away and dictates who can distribute your assets.
- Joint wills: Also known as a reciprocal will, a mirror will, or a mutual will, do not create a presumption of a contract to make a will nor do they create a presumption of a contract not to revoke the will or wills. In essence, a married couple would each have their own will which could be changed by either party and not a joint will. Agreements concerning succession are valid and addressed in Florida Statute § 732.701.
- Trusts: This is the legal responsibility of another individual to maintain a person’s assets for future distribution to their beneficiaries.
- Living trusts: This can be created during a person’s life and enacted after their death. It can dictate property or assets of any variety.
- Inheritance: In addition to receiving property and financial assets, an inheritance can also include passing on titles, land, obligations, and debts.
Determining where you wish to distribute your sentimental assets is easier if you have the chance to speak with your loved ones about which items that want and list their requests explicitly in your will. As with any other legal document related to your estate, you should ensure that you are clear in your requests and remove any room for ambiguity about where your valuable items will be going.
Do You Need a Personal Property Memorandum?
The process of detailing each item you wish to give to your family and loved ones can be time-consuming, especially if there are specific gifts that you hope to allocate rather than collections or groups of items. Instituting a personal property memorandum in your will can make it easier to manage your assets and how they will be distributed without needing to update your entire will in the process.
An attorney can help you put together a personal property memorandum that highlights your wishes for each item, including when you want it to be distributed and which of your loved ones is receiving it. Because a personal property memorandum is legally binding, the individuals who do (and do not) receive some of your sentimental assets cannot challenge or dispute the decision with the individual looking after your estate.
When Is the Right Time to Give Away Assets?
When it comes to determining the best time to give your property and assets to your family members, there might be several factors to consider before making a decision. You may be continuing to utilize certain assets until further notice, such as your home or your vehicle, but when considering the allocation of sentimental items, there are a few notable benefits to giving them to loved ones before your passing.
Bringing heirlooms and family treasures to the people you care about can be a great way to connect with them and share memories. It also gives you the chance to learn what items your family members are hoping to inherit from you. For example, your daughter may be hoping for old family photo albums instead of the antique furniture she received. By providing your family with sentimental assets prior to your passing, you also have the opportunity to experience their joy at receiving the items.
Contact a Reliable Orlando Estate Planning Lawyer
Sentimental items are often the hardest to plan for because of the emotional attachment that you and your family may have to them. At times like this, your best source of advice will be an experienced legal professional like one of the lawyers at Patriot Legal Group. Our team has helped hundreds of clients determine the best way to approach their estate planning process so that their wishes are met and their families are satisfied.
Call us today (407) 737-7222 or contact us online if you want to find out more information or schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated estate planning specialists in Orlando, Florida.