There are a lot of things to consider when you’re making an estate plan, from what future medical decisions you want to make to how you’re going to divide your assets between your heirs. People often tend to focus on big-ticket items like an investment portfolio, a life insurance policy or a home that has been fully paid off.
You certainly do want to think about these things, but don’t assume that all of the “small” items that you own don’t need to go into the estate plan. These may seem trivial to you, but they could hold a lot of sentimental value for your children and even for your grandchildren. In this sense, they will consider these things to be much more valuable than you would or than a third party would.
Why is this a problem?
The reason that it can be a problem to leave these things out or simply to tell the heirs to figure out what they want to do on their own is that sentimental items may lead to serious disputes. If the items were more valuable for actual financial reasons, they could be divided. But since the value is sentimental, there’s no way to divide the assets that will make people happy. The common tactic of selling an asset just means that everyone will be frustrated because they didn’t get what they wanted, even if they got the money – which may not be very much.
A big part of estate planning is trying to plan for the future and trying to protect your heirs from these types of life-altering disputes. Make sure you know exactly what steps to take to get the plan that works best for you.