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In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You're Not Around Later

How To Distribute Personal Property After A Death

This article on settling an estate is provided by Everplans — The web's leading resource for planning and organizing your life. Create, store and share important documents that your loved ones might need. Find out more about Everplans »

Many times, personal items of sentimental or real value are not included in a Will. These items should be properly distributed to surviving family members.

How To Distribute Personal Property Among Family Members

In many families, there are objects of great sentimental importance. When possible, those items should be shared among family members who would all like them. Family photos, for example, can be divided among family member, or an album can be created that people can take turns keeping. If there are items that you particularly want, ask the other members of your family if they would feel comfortable with you taking that item, rather than simply taking it.

It is common for there to be disagreements among siblings about who should get what property. In some cases, these disagreements can cause real damage to relationships. Before you get started distributing personal items, it may be helpful for everyone involved to have a conversation about how the sharing of the property should happen so that everyone is on the same page.

Items That Are Not Claimed

Any items that are not claimed by family members can be donated to a charity, sold through an online platform, or sold through an estate sale that you organize yourself or have organized by an estate liquidation company.

If you will be donating items to charity, talk to an accountant to see if the donation can have beneficial tax implications for the estate.

For information on how to distribute property that was included in a will, see our article Distributing Assets to Beneficiaries.

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