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Some estate plans go into careful detail about how every item in the estate is to be distributed — but most do not. That can leave you, as the executor of the estate, with the job of figuring out who gets which of the deceased’s personal possessions.
Where do you start? Here are some suggestions about what to do about the deceased’s personal items:
An inventory helps you better understand what is in the estate and can keep items from mysteriously disappearing. Make sure that you lock everything up properly and make others aware that you will distribute the items when it is time.
Some of those personal items — items with particular sentimental value or items with actual material value — may be specifically named in the will. Don’t lump all of the deceased’s personal possessions together until you know.
Many of the deceased’s personal items can be distributed to the heirs by agreement. For example, one sibling may want Dad’s books while the other wants his tools.
Ideally, you should move forward with the consent of all the heirs. Whenever possible, try to reach a consensus on how the remaining personal items will be handled. Some of the options include:
Finally, once you have distributed what you can, consider donating the rest to charity.
Handling an estate can be hard without help. Find out more about your available options and get some experienced advice today that can help you manage.
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