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Florida law allows for easy assigning of personal items to family

Estate planning not only involves the distribution of assets, but can also mean figuring out what will happen to the many things you've accumulated throughout the years and think your loved ones will want to remember you by after you're gone. Even the closest family can come to disagreements over how to handle what is left in the home after their parents pass away. The death of a loved one is a highly emotional time, and the upheaval can leave family members fighting, instead of coming together in love and support as they should.

Therefore, it's important for Florida residents not to forget the small details when they're planning their estate administration. State law says that when it comes to the division of personal items, you don't need an attorney to be present or even to have you sign official documents pertaining to which family member gets which keepsake. If it's easiest to make a list of the items you own, and name each family member you believe would appreciate and treasure the item, you can make that list, sign and date it, and include it with the rest of your will planning documents.

However, since it’s smart to be sure every base is covered, it might be a good idea to bring up the topic of personal possessions with your estate planning attorney when you’re discussing other important details, such as naming a power of attorney or trust to a trusted beneficiary. A close family can be permanently damaged by arguments over who gets to keep a beloved item that will help them remember you. Speaking with your loved ones right now about what they would like to have after you’re gone, and then making a careful record of it, can save a lot of heartache in the future.

Source: Florida Today, “Planning before death helps everyone,” Stephen J. Lacey, July 10, 2013

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