When planning your estate, your most valuable assets are often the easiest to handle. You probably already have a plan for how to split up your financial assets or for how to handle your home after you die.
People have rarely planned so carefully about their personal property, ranging from collectibles and furniture to family heirlooms. Depending on the size of your estate, you may have a large amount of personal property to distribute. What is the best approach to take for physical assets when estate planning?
Talk with family members about the sentimental value of assets
Before you start worrying about the financial worth of your property, you probably need to think about what it means to your children and other family members. One of your children might want to receive a certain piece of art, while another might have an attachment to a piece of heirloom furniture.
Talking with your intended heirs about what property they hope to receive can help you earmark the most crucial assets for specific people.
Make a plan for the property that people don’t want
Outside of the items people ask for specifically, there will probably still be many belongings in your home. You may want to include provisions in your will that allow family members in need, like grandchildren moving into their first apartments, to have the first right of refusal of physical assets. Otherwise, you may want people to sell your property to split their value or donate it to charity.
It’s important to understand that the perceived value of estate property has declined in recent years. China, vintage knick-knacks and even well-built furniture may not draw much interest on the private market.
You may also want to consider downsizing your possessions as you age rather than holding on to items in the hope that your family members can sell them for a profit in the future. Talking with your children and other family members about what they intend to do with your property can help you plan your estate in a way that will uphold your legacy without leaving a lot of work for your children or executor.