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Deciding Who Gets What

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Mention the word "inheritance" and many people envision money, stocks and bonds, expensive jewelry, or the family home. But when a loved one dies, it's often the sentimental assets he or she leaves behind that mean the most.

What Matters Most?
Every family has closets and attics filled with personal belongings passed from one generation to the next: baby pictures, Mom's rolling pin, Grandma's necklace, Grandpa's hat collection. These items can hold tremendous value to your family and friends, and sometimes they can become a source of hard feelings when divided among heirs.

Who Gets What?
Decisions about who gets certain personal items are often more challenging than decisions about cash assets. A savings bond worth $100 is $100—no matter who receives the money. But the value of your wedding album is determined by much more than the type of paper and binding used.

Remember that people may have opposing ideas about what is "fair" based on who they are, their relationship with you and what they think they deserve. Not everyone finds meaning in the same items. Heirs will more than likely agree to the fairness of your final decisions if you encourage discussion and listen to everyone's ideas ahead of time.

One method that may help with the decision-making process is to:
  • Make a list of the items.
  • Give each person their own copy to initial the item(s) they really want.
  • Collect the copies, and if any item has more than one initial, either draw lots to decide who receives it or make your own decision.
Did You Know?
Tangible personal property can make an excellent charitable gift. If you are interested in the benefits of leaving property to a Genesis Foundation from your estate, please contact Steve Goebel, CFRE at 309-281-4392 or to learn more.

Find out more about donating property.

Copyright © The Stelter Company, All rights reserved.

The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.

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