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Leaving Personal Property in Your Will: How to Avoid Future Family Feuds

Jun 20 2016

Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Upon a person’s death, family members have expectations regarding the possessions they hope to inherit.  These expectations range from mom’s favorite cooking apron to dad’s $80,000 classic car.  Some of the items beneficiaries argue over have sentimental value.  However, more often then not, the major dispute is over money.  Therefore, it is important to be proactive in considering how you can keep your family from feuding over your Will in the future. 

If you want to ensure that your family stays out of court when your Will goes into effect, it is important to know that there are several options.  First and foremost, if you want your oldest daughter to get the beautiful Omega watch she has been admiring for ten years, your first option is to make a lifetime gift, give your daughter possession of the watch, and document that the watch was a gift.  However, if you do not want to part with the watch during your lifetime, your second option is to include the watch in your Will.  Some Wills contain a separate page titled “gifts” that you do not have to fill out during the signing, but rather when you feel the time is right.  This list includes items that can be directed to particular recipients.

The ultimate factor that will help your beneficiaries stay out of court is communication.  Talk with the people who will inherit portions of your estate by being honest and open with them.  Candidly discuss what you intend to leave in your Will to that person.  Talking about it may be uncomfortable in the present, but it will prevent many future and potentially costly arguments. 

The final, important step in executing an effective Will is to consult an attorney with experience in estate planning.  In order to verify all your future requests will be met and that your beneficiaries will stay out of court, make an appointment with an experienced estate planning lawyer, today.

Forked River Lawyer | Estate Planning | Wills | Personal Property