When most people think about the estate they will leave behind when they die they focus on major assets such as investment accounts, life insurance proceeds, a small business, and/or real property. While it is important to decide what will happen to all of those assets, it is also important to decide how to handle personal property in your estate plan. Because personal property is often sentimental in nature, it too should be addressed within your overall estate plan.
Personal property can be tangible or intangible.
. Tangible assets are things you can see and feel such as your vehicle, furniture, and family heirlooms while intangible assets include things you cannot hold and are often difficult to value, such as copyrights or other intellectual property. All of your personal property. All of your personal property can be gifted to someone in your estate plan. While it is one option to simply leave all personal property to a single beneficiary, or to several beneficiaries in equal shares and let them sort it out, it may be preferable to actually gift specific items to specific beneficiaries.
Before you can decide how best to handle your personal property in your estate plan you should first sit down and make a list of all your personal property. While much of your personal property may have very little real or sentimental value, you will quickly find that you have numerous items that you consider to be valuable from an emotional or historic standpoint. Family heirlooms, such as serving china or furniture, for example, is likely very important to you. As such, you will likely want to take some time to decide who should receive each piece when you are gone. Don’t forget to include things such as frequent flyer miles, a website, and even your beloved family pet because the law considers each of these items to be your personal property.
Once you a complete list of your personal property and have decided who should receive each item you must decide how to handle making each gift. Of course you can list each item individually in your Last Will and Testament or you may decide to simply attach a Letter of Instruction. The primary difference is that while gifts made in your Will are legally binding, the instruction you write your Letter of Instruction is not.
If you have additional questions or concerns about wills, trusts, or estate planning in general, contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.