Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tips on Bequesting Heirlooms


Heirs are likely to fight over more than just money.  Family heirlooms can cause just as much controversy.  Here are five steps to help avoid problems:

  1. Start Talking.  Find out who might like what.  Talk with your children individually and then as a group to figure out which specific keepsakes they might want.
  2. Create a memo.  Use a memorandum to detail how you want to divvy up personal property and then have your will reference that memo.
  3. Avoid creating strife.  If you have a favorite descendant, consider demonstrating your affection while you’re alive so that your estate plan is more equitable.
  4. Consider a professional executor.  Hiring a corporate fiduciary can avoid the conflict you may create by choosing one family member as executor.
  5. Create an ethical will.  An ethical will is a document detailing your family values and can help your heirs understand your decisions. 

See Andrea Coombes, How to Avoid Estate Fights Among Your Heirs, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 15, 2013. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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