Undesignated personal items might cause an inheritance dispute

From an administrator's point of view, the big-ticket assets in an estate may cause the most stress. However, a recent article reminds us that disposing of personal possessions may also fall under the estate administrator’s duties.

Fortunately, an estate planning law firm can help in this regard. We have a network of professional relationships that includes accountants, real-estate agents, appraisers, tax and finance professionals, charitable organizations and even companies that specialize in estate sales.

Ideally, personal items will be designated in advance. The more traditional approach might be to specifically list items in a last will and testament. Alternatively, a proactive approach during an individual’s lifetime might be transferring all personal items to a revocable living trust. After the individual’s passing, the trustee can then set to work distributing personal items to the designated beneficiaries without the delay of probate.

To the extent personal items have no named beneficiaries, an attorney can help mediate claims from heirs and loved ones. An attorney can provide a neutral sounding board to family members embroiled in a dispute involving personal assets with sentimental attachments. Any unclaimed or undesired assets might also be turned over to an estate sale company for sale.

Companies that focus on estate liquidations can handle every detail when it comes to unclaimed personal assets. An appraiser can inspect for any hidden, valuable items and help determine pricing. Boxing and packing companies can help organize personal assets to be shipped to a designated charity. After the legal matters have been sorted out, such estate sale professionals can step in and take care of the remaining details.

Source: Washington Post, “When mom and dad are gone, how best to get rid of a lifetime of possessions,” Wendy A. Jordan, March 24, 2016

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