Planning For A Secure Future

How to avoid problems when bequeathing family heirlooms

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate

Bequeathing family heirlooms can be a sentimental and emotional process in California. The process can also lead to conflicts and challenges if not done properly. That’s especially true when emotions run high. Luckily, there are some steps individuals can take to avoid the emotional toll. Here are some tips to help avoid problems when bequeathing family heirlooms.

Try non-traditional methods

When it comes to bequeathing family heirlooms, loved ones may want everything to get divided in half. Unfortunately, some things can’t be divided. For instance, paintings and collections can’t be divided evenly. That’s where non-traditional methods come into the picture.

Individuals can take several non-traditional methods to divide family heirlooms. One way is to take a round-robin approach where each family member chooses something they want. Or, individuals can make a list of the heirlooms and then family members can take turns drawing item names out of a hat.

Work towards equal value

It’s not always easy to divide heirlooms evenly, especially when it comes to determining their value. When individuals struggle to create an even distribution by value, it may be necessary to take a different approach.

One way is to add cash or other items when two heirlooms don’t match in value. Documenting the total value of each bequeathment can help avoid hard feelings. This process also helps with bookkeeping efforts when creating an estate plan.

Document final wishes

Once an individual bequeaths family heirlooms, it’s a good idea to document those wishes. Those wishes can be documented in a will or an estate plan. Documenting final bequeathal wishes helps to reduce family conflict. It also helps provide a clear path for transferring heirlooms after an individual dies.

Bequeathing family heirlooms doesn’t need to be stressful or emotional. Careful planning can help create a smooth transfer of heirlooms to family members.