One of the most common disputes when administering an estate of trust is the distribution of the decedent’s tangible personal property. The most common source of the dispute are the items’ sentimental value. One way to avoid a dispute among your children and family members is to prepare a tangible personal property statement or list. These types of lists are especially helpful with family heirlooms or other items with sentimental value that is unique to your family.

For example, my great-grandmother collected salt and pepper shakers. My father, a retired marine, traveled the world purchasing salt and pepper shakers. In truth, a number of family members gifted unique shakers to my great-grandmother, but instead of having the collection divided up or argued over, my great-grandmother specifically designated that the collection be given to one grandchild, who was not my father. Although he was disappointed, he respected my great grandmother’s wishes.

Preparing a list or statement is an easy solution to a potentially heated dispute. If you have an item of sentimental value, it is strongly recommended that you prepare a tangible personal property statement.

Laura M. Trujillo

Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only. Legal advice is provided only through a formal, written attorney/client agreement.