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News & Knowledge

Avoiding problems in the disposition of tangible personal property: Planning makes a difference

12th September 2016

Deborah Pechet Quinan, Ruberto Israel & Weiner PC

In this article MSI's Massachusetts law member Ruberto Israel & Weiner PC addresses the estate planning process with regards to the disposition of the client's tangible personal property at death.

Distributing Tangible Personal Property At Death

In planning for the distribution of assets at death, most people give considerable thought to tailoring their estate plans to dispose of their financial assets. However, many, professionals included, often overlook the conflict, expense, and administrative difficulties that can result from a failure to formulate a thoughtful plan for the disposition of one’s special tangible personal property (e.g. car collections, valuable household furnishings such as antiques, artwork, jewelry, collectibles, etc). Addressing one’s tangibles in the estate planning process can significantly reduce the estate’s ultimate administrative expenses, as well as minimize emotional upheaval within the family for tangibles with sentimental value.

The Costs of Inadequate Planning

Without adequate planning for your tangibles during your lifetime, those special items will need to be valued, stored, or sold after your death, at potentially great expense to your estate. The administrative costs to the estate of disposing of tangibles can be significant, as accounting for numerous items can be very time-consuming. In addition, where emotions tend to run high after a loved one’s death, probating tangible items can spark significant animosity among surviving family members.

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