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Should you list every asset in your will?

Many individuals may have certain items they consider priceless due to sentimental value rather than monetary worth. In many cases, these items come as the source of conflict when surviving family members begin seeking parts of a recently-deceased loved one's estate. Therefore, while creating your estate plans, you may wish to consider steps that could potentially allow you to help your family avoid such conflicts.

Use your will

Of course, the first document that many individuals utilize when bequeathing personal items is a will. This legal document can serve many purposes from appointing guardians to indicating who gains ownership of valuable assets. However, listing every small personal item you own in a will may take up considerable time as well as cause unnecessary complications in the future.

You may do well to list high-value items and accounts that require named beneficiaries directly in your will. This action ensures that these financially-valuable items do not fall into the hands of undesired individuals. These items likely will not go through significant changes often that may require a will to need rewriting.

Consider a memorandum

For smaller items that may have little to no value other than sentimentality, listing each item in your will in order for inheritance to occur may not be necessary. You may think that a loved one may want your old CD collection or that your child may want a piece of costume jewelry, but you may later come to find that these items are not wanted. If you listed them in your will, the document would need an update in order to have those items removed. The same would go for items that you listed and then later sold, lost or otherwise got rid of.

Rather than listing these items in a document that would require going through the proper legal channels to update, you may wish to create a personal property memorandum. This document would allow you to list any item - especially smaller ones - you wish to bequeath and each intended recipient. This list would need a reference in your will in order to ensure that it is legally binding.

Because the list would exist outside your will, you could update it any time you saw fit without having to take extra legal steps. Additionally, by using a memorandum as part of your estate plans, you may lessen the likelihood of your surviving family getting into squabbles that could turn into litigation over small assets.

In order to ensure that your wishes are in order and to find out more information on personal property memorandums, you may wish to discuss your wants and needs with experienced California attorneys. These legal professionals could offer advice on documents that may suit your needs and how to go about bolstering your plans.

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