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Don’t forget about your ‘stuff’ when planning your estate

If you are at home right now while reading this, look around the room. Chances are that there are things all over your house that hold value -- either sentimental value or monetary value. That’s why you don’t want to forget about your personal property when planning your estate.

While people tend to focus on big ticket items like real estate or financial accounts when creating their estate plan, tangible items such as antiques, memorabilia, collections and furniture should also be part of the preparations.

Clearly stating who should get what not only makes the process easier for your estate administrator, it also helps prevent conflict from arising among your loved ones after you are gone. Without any direction from you, your loved ones could end up fighting over the items that they have grown attached to over the years.

The good news is that this doesn’t mean you need to sit down with your estate planning lawyer and go through who should receive every item in your house. Florida is one of many states that allow you to create a personal property memorandum to attach to your will.

This document can be created separately from your will, and you can change it as you see fit throughout the years. The document can be as simple as a list of tangible personal items along with the names of the people you would like to inherit the items.

It doesn’t have the same formal requirements as your will, so you don’t have to sign it in front of witnesses every time you make a change. You do, however, need to refer to the personal property memorandum in your will.

Talk to your estate planning lawyer for more information on creating a personal property memorandum. And the next time your child or grandchild tells you how much they like something in your home, make a note of it so you can add it to your list.

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