A Last Will and Testament determines how liquid assets in an Estate are distributed after death. Personal property is considered part of the liquid assets in an Estate. In a Last Will and Testament, you can provide instructions on how your personal property is to be divided among your beneficiaries and heirs.
Yet, even when a Last Will and Testament provides detailed instructions about the division of personal property in an estate, it may not cover every item. Living heirs may still need to divide a large amount of personal property.
What Happens to Personal Property Not in the Will?
If personal property is not included in the Last Will and Testament, the heirs will need to discuss how to best divide and distribute the remaining personal property.
If all the heirs are in agreement, the process of dividing and distributing property goes easier. During this process, the appraisal and evaluation of all personal property gives heirs an accurate estimate of value. In most cases, heirs not receiving “expensive” personal property will receive an adjustment in cash instead. This often occurs when valuable assets are distributed, but heirs wish to make their inheritances equal.
If the personal property has little to no value, the heirs of the Estate should distribute the property amongst themselves. This may mean negotiating items that have more “sentimental” value, rather than “monetary value.” There is no set rule on how to divide and distribute this property. Instead, the Court requires an equal division of the property.When heirs do not agree on the division or distribution of personal property the Court will intervene to resolve these issues. In this case, the Court may order the sale of the personal property. Proceeds from that sale are then divided among the heirs of the Estate in accordance with their percentages of inheritance.
When negotiating and dividing personal property after death, heirs can come together to reach amicable and creative solutions. As long as all parties are in agreement, this process is often uncomplicated and easy. When the parties involved are not in agreement, this can create emotional and financial turmoil requiring Courts to make the final decision.
Contact An Estate Planning Attorney in Upland, California Today
Planning for the future and for the inevitable can give you the peace of mind you need to protect your property and your loved ones. An estate planning attorney in Upland, California can help you determine the division and distribution of your personal property when you're gone. This can help your loved ones avoid unnecessary probate or legal disputes.
If you're looking to establish a Last Will and Testament or you are embroiled in a dispute with other heirs, we can help. At Family First Estate Planning Law Center, we proudly provide estate planning services in Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Los Angeles County. Call us today at (714) 591-0640, email us at [email protected], or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more.