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Estate planning for sentimental items

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Estate Planning

When people think about estate planning, they likely think about the big-ticket items first. For example, who they should leave their house to or who they want to receive the contents of their investment accounts. 

While it is crucial to plan for those, you also need to remember that there is more than one way to value something. You likely have items that may not hold much financial value but potentially hold a lot of sentimental value for some members of your family or your friends.

Talking to people is the best way to get to know their likes and dislikes

Let’s say you own the following two things amongst other assets:

  1. A dilapidated wooden sailing boat
  2. A vase you bought in a garage sale after wrongly identifying it as valuable

Neither has much financial value, and some of your family might consider the only place they belong is in the junkyard. But there may be someone who treasures each of these items for very personal reasons.

Your granddaughter may want to restore the boat to remind her of the happy days you spent sailing it together when she was young. 

Your son (who is now an art dealer) might be delighted to receive the vase and display it in his office as a fun reminder of how easy it can be to get it wrong when evaluating an item’s authenticity.

People’s reasons for liking or disliking something are not always predictable. By talking to them about what they would and would not like, you can better allocate items to those who want them. It avoids burdening people with things they don’t want.  It also alerts you to items that could become a problem because two or more people are keen to get them.

There’s a lot to consider when making an estate plan. Getting legal help to document your decisions will reduce the chance of problems when you are gone.