“Money isn’t everything.” That is what most of us think when we hear about heirs fighting over an inheritance. Nevertheless, it is a truth many heirs know all too well.
So, how you split up priceless family artifacts and other physical goods can start or end fights before they happen. How do you plan to fairly spread the relics and keep the peace?
Sure, there are many inheritance fights over dollars and cents. On the other hand, there even more fights, leading to protracted probate battles and just plain old hurt feelings over the disposition of physical goods, relics and family keepsakes.
Unfortunately, it can be more difficult to plan for the disposition of “stuff” in contrast to cash in Overland Park and elsewhere.
As you being to think about your estate in this light and figuring out who wants what, you might want to consider the insights provided in a recent article in Consumer Reports, aptly titled “How to spare your heirs a battle over your estate.”
Oftentimes, physical items are difficult to split up. For example, it can be difficult to simply tear the painting in half, divide a book, or even, realistically, split a set of china. To end a debate about which direction an item will go, to one heir or the other, you have to write it down. A will is simply not enough, generally speaking. It is hard to capture the kind of detail needed. Consequently, the matter will go straight into probate.
Thankfully, many states like Kansas and Missouri allow you to attach a more informal writing to your last will – a document that offers a list of “what” and “to whom”, and is far more easily updated. No one, however, can make the often tough distribution decisions and create the list for you.
This list is one of those many little tasks to take on as part of the overall plan, and one you must keep updating as you acquire or lose this or that asset or family heirloom.
This also is a topic worth discussing with your heirs. That way you, and they, will know what things they may want (or do not want). After all, with heirloom fights it is often an emotional connection to an object at the heart of the matter rather than its intrinsic value. Remember, it isn't not always about the money, because money isn’t everything.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: ConsumerReport.org (April 2014) “How to spare your heirs a battle over your estate”