With the new year may come a renewed effort to organize your things and look through memories you have gathered throughout the years. New year’s cleaning and organizing efforts can quickly send you down memory lane while you look at sentimental possessions you hold near and dear. As you work your way through your treasures, consider that now may be the best time to account for them in your estate plan. After all, these sentimental assets may not be high in monetary value, but they may be invaluable sentimentally speaking.
Estate Planning for Sentimental Assets
Consider the items you may treasure more than treasure itself. Often our most dearly held possessions have an enormous amount of sentimental value, despite any financial value they may hold. Do you know who you want to be entrusted with your sentimental assets after you pass away? You can, and should, provide for these things in your estate plan.
Why include your sentimental assets in your estate plan? There are a number of reasons. First of all, it is dangerous to assume that your loved ones will know what you would have wanted for your treasures after you pass. Clearly stating your wishes as to who should receive what is always the safer bet. Second, clearly listing your personal property and who each item should go to can help prevent family squabbles. You can also include a statement as to why you wish certain items to go to particular individuals. In the wake of losing a loved one, clarity of your wishes can be invaluable. Emotions run high and fights can all too easily break out. With sentimental assets, your loved ones may feel particularly protective or entitled. Save them the time, energy, and cost of court costs and legal fees by clearly spelling out your wishes.
You can clearly set forth your wishes for your sentimental assets in a personal property memorandum. This is a list separate from your will or trust document. To help ensure that your personal property memorandum is legally recognized, you should reference it in your will or trust document. One of the benefits of having the personal property memorandum is that it can be easily changed or amended without the need to observe the formalities required of amending a will or trust document.
In the personal property memorandum, list those sentimental assets and other pieces of personal property that you want to explicitly provide for distribution to certain specified people. So, you should list the item, who it goes to, and, if you wish, a statement as to why that item is going to that particular person. While personal property items of sentimental value may be best included in a personal property memorandum, you should still consider including your assets that hold a significant amount of monetary value in your actual will or trust documents.
Estate Planning Attorneys
The estate planning team at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace creates strong estate plans that account for those things you hold dear. We know that there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan out there and we tailor estate plans to meet the unique needs of each client. Contact us today.