Distributing your personal possessions to your children is a challenging part of settling an estate, even more so than sharing your money assets. You have to think about who will get items such as your furniture, dishes, jewelry, artwork, pictures, silverware or clothing.
Developing a plan ahead of time on how you want to divide your personal property might lessen stress and tension amongst your relatives and close friends after your death.
1. Make copies.
You cannot duplicate other items, but you can order copies of your photos and videos. With modern technology, copies are essentially the same as the originals. The more you order, the more family members you can appease.
2. Get appraisals.
For your possessions with significant value, you might have a more difficult time deciding which child will inherit what. Getting an appraisal for your valuable items will give you an accurate idea of what things are worth. This way your children may feel more satisfied knowing that they will inherit items with a total value similar to that of their siblings.
3. Hire a mediator.
You can elect to hire a mediator, especially if you believe your relatives will fight over certain items in your estate. A neutral third party can work with your family to get to the root of everyone’s interests and prevent escalations by resolving issues.
4. Use a color labeling method.
Assign a color to each of your children and have them place their color on each item they want using stickers or labels. If an item only has one label, then you can designate it to that person in your will. In the event that one of your belongings has more than one label, your children can select what they want by going in rounds.
Overall, planning a method to divide your valuables ahead of your death and during the estate planning process may help lessen any family tensions in the future.