Personal Property, Death and Family Feuds


personal property

It is not uncommon the hear stories of family members fighting over their deceased relative’s personal property. Brother Joe wants the tool collection, but so does sister Jill….which niece or nephew, aunt, uncle, cousin gets the heirloom porcelain vase collection, or items of jewelry or family pictures, items of clothing or the whatever else that had been in possession of the deceased. These feuds can regrettably lead to family members no longer speaking to one another. All this can be avoided with some simple planning.

If there are items of significant value, either monetarily or emotionally, they can be distributed within an individual’s Last Will and Testament by way of a specific bequest and these bequests are binding upon the estate executor to carry out.

As another option, one that is not legally binding, but more of an emotional commitment, the individual can create a list of personal items to be given to specific persons. With the list in hand, family members might be less inclined to argue and be more accepting of the wishes of the deceased.

However, even with the best of planning, some families just can’t get along or agree on anything. And when that happens the fiduciary will take whatever action that in their opinion best complies with the intent of the deceased. And when all else fails, the matter will be decided in probate court.