People in California are becoming aware of the importance of estate planning due in part to the number of prominent people who have recently passed away without having one. The lack of a plan can cause chaos and tie up an estate in probate for years. Simply having an estate plan may not resolve all of the possible issues that could arise, regarding distribution of estate assets.
One area that is sometimes overlooked is the bequeathing of individual items. A will or a trust designates the beneficiaries for one’s belongings, especially large ones. For items such as real estate and financial assets, the beneficiaries will likely be clearly identified. However, the document will most likely not contain a complete inventory of all of one’s belongings.
Personal belongings can consist of art, jewelry, cars and other items that may or may not be worth a substantial amount of money. The value may even be purely sentimental. In some instances, items of this nature will be gifted while a person is still alive to ensure that it goes to the intended person. Items of high monetary value may be designated for sale to help pay the costs of the estate.
Regardless of how one decides to dispose of one’s belongings, it can be a good idea to spell out in detail the distribution of important estate assets. This can prevent additional heartache and family squabbling. A person in California who is preparing an estate plan should consult with an estate planning attorney as one way to ensure that one’s final wishes are successfully carried out.