“The Little Things:” Leaving Cherished Personal Items to Heirs

When most people think about estate planning they think about how to leave financial assets—savings, retirement accounts, investment assets, or large assets such as a home—to their children, grandchildren or other loved ones. But our firm knows that estate planning is about much more than just money. In fact, once clients get beyond the big-ticket financial items and start considering the other assets or items they’d like to leave to their loved ones they often find that these “smaller items” involve far more concern and consideration than the finances.

Consider for a moment which items have meaning for you. What will happen to these items when you’re gone? The first things that come to mind are often family heirlooms: Your grandmother’s china, the engagement ring your father gave your mother; but what about items of significance to you in particular—a home library with antique books, a classical guitar collection, your personal inventory of artwork, or perhaps a valuable coin or stamp collection.

All too often these items of personal value are given only a vague mention as part of “the estate.” These personal items can end up either given away for a pittance at a yard sale, or they may cost hundreds of dollars in legal fees when siblings fight over them. Siblings often end up fighting and disowning each other over a disagreement about small items of personal value from mom or dad.

Luckily, you don’t have to leave the distribution of these items to chance. Our firm will work with you to create an estate plan that will not only pass your financial assets to your heirs, but also your beloved personal items as well. Perhaps you’d like to leave that home library to your literary niece along with a modest sum to help her buy bookshelves. Your classical guitar collection might be most appreciated by your local music center, along with a financial donation to put toward a musical scholarship program.

Artwork, coin collections, stamp collections—these “small” items can be the Achilles’ heel of an estate plan if not given the consideration they deserve; but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right planning you can leave your cherished personal items in the hands of appreciative people who will care for them. Contact our office today and let us help you provide for the people—and things—you love most.