Many Texans have family valuables or heirlooms that are passed down through generations. Whether it’s an antique ring or a grandmother’s china, some people do not think about including these items in their estate plan. However, putting these valuables in an estate plan can reduce family disagreements and simplify potential future issues. Below are some tips and advice from estate planning attorneys on how to handle family heirlooms and why it is better to include these objects in an estate plan.
What Are the Benefits of Including Family Heirlooms in an Estate Plan?
One benefit of listing heirlooms in a will is so the valuables are given to the person the deceased actually intended to receive it. While the individual may tell someone that they want them to have the heirloom after they pass away, there is no guarantee they will receive it unless it is included in the will. This could lead to family fighting where multiple people claim they are the rightful recipient of the heirloom. Only by including the valuables in the estate plan will the estate executor be able to make sure the objects go to who the deceased actually intended.
Similarly, having frank and honest conversations with loved ones while crafting the estate plan can also reduce family fighting about heirlooms. While it may be difficult to have these conversations, it can be beneficial to be frank with family about who will be inheriting the valuable—so there are no surprises in the future.
If I Do Not Have an Emotional Attachment to the Antique, Should I Sell It?
When people do not have an emotional or sentimental attachment to an antique included in their estate plan—and they do not think the inheritor has an attachment either—they wonder whether the valuables should be converted to cash instead. While it may be easier to sell the antique, the creator of the estate plan should have an open conversation with the beneficiary and see what they would prefer.
It is also important to note that antiques may not fetch the money an owner would immediately assume. The object may be difficult to sell, or it may be less valuable than expected. This should factor into the decision of whether to sell the antique or heirloom or just to bequeath the object to a loved one.
Creating an estate plan and including sentimental items like antiques or family heirlooms may seem difficult; however, with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, the process can go by with ease.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan—or would like to amend their current plan to include family heirlooms—contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. Every person’s familial relationships, valuables, and mindset are unique—because of this, no two estate plans are the same. Our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure they create an estate plan that best fits your needs. To schedule a free, no-commitment consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 713-333-8900.