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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Asset Distribution / When it Comes to Wills: Details, Details, Details

When it Comes to Wills: Details, Details, Details

When it comes to deciding who gets what in a will, no detail is too small.

That includes silly little knicknacks and items of kitsch that mom and dad may have accumulated over the years, as families sometimes discover to their lasting dismay when no instructions exist on divying such things up among the children, grandchildren and other relatives.

Most people see to the money they expect to leave behind in terms of its distribution, but turning a blind eye to the rest of a person’s possessions can lead to hard feelings and heartache for survivors.

“Unlike financial assets, which can generally be divided easily amongst heirs, tangible personal property is unique” according to an article by Deborah L. Jacobs on Forbes.com. “And the complexity of distributing a lifetime’s worth of possessions is something that many people overlook. Families have been torn apart over everything from ownership of a valuable painting, the grandfather clock and the gun collection, to who gets Mama’s recipe box. Sometimes the object in question is an item of substantial material value, but just as often, it seems, the appeal is purely sentimental. People get emotionally attached to objects that symbolize the person they are mourning.”

“The passing of a beloved family member is a tragic event,” according to a posting to submityourarticles.com by Australian attorney Mark Stevens. “While many individuals will work with estate planning lawyers to create a will, some individuals do not create a will and inheritance disputes to contest a will might occur. When disputes arise, lawyers who specialize in family law can help families settle the situation.”

The solution to this situation is simple: Family members need to talk to one another beforehand, in order to keep from yelling at one another after the fact.

“Discussing these issues while parents are still alive is far preferable to letting children duke it out for themselves later,” Forbes.com staff member Jacobs wrote. “Some people address this subject before they die, by giving away possessions as they downsize, by asking which things have special meaning to particular family members, or by leaving directions about how personal property should be divided. Others have had adult children express their preferences by putting their names on the bottom of things while the older generation is still alive.”

Communication, as is so often the case, is key.

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