When considering estate planning and the distribution of your assets, most of us generally think about our larger, more valuable possessions. We think about our property, retirement plans, life insurance policies, savings accounts, and stocks and bonds. We may also think about items such as valuable jewelry (especially mom’s wedding ring that may be passed down to a daughter), expensive china, quality furnishings and valuable antiques. However, what about the “valuables” you don’t realize you have?
Value has multiple definitions, and does not always relate to monetary worth. In fact, “value” can also be defined as “relative worth, utility, or importance”, and an object that is “valuable” can be simply defined as “something that is desirable”. Although most people assume that the items of greatest monetary value will be the most sought after when they’ve passed away, most often it is the items of sentimental value that become the most desirable to your loved ones.
This is a situation we see often at Morris Hall. In fact, a client recently shared such a situation with us when coming in to create an estate plan for his wife and children. Brian (name changed) and his siblings were very close and felt that they could resolve amongst themselves the division of their parents’ possessions. The parents had not created a Living Trust and, as such, there were no designations in place to determine how their assets were to be dispersed. The siblings found that dispersing the items of monetary value went surprising well and everyone was able to agree on the terms. After the major items were out of the way, the siblings met together in their parents’ former home to go through the items there and decide what items they each wanted.
Things were going smoothly as the siblings laid claim on the various items that they wanted. However, no one foresaw what item would cause a huge dispute to break out. For most of their childhood, Mom had owned a wooden cutting board that was carved into the shape of a pig. Now, this cutting board has no monetary value, however, the siblings battled for hours over who would get this cutting board. The arguments got heated and relationships were damaged and nearly ruined, and all for a pig-shaped cutting board.
After this experience, Brian realized the importance of having an estate plan and came in to meet with an MH attorney to ensure his children would never face a similar situation. In his Living Trust he can designate exactly how he and his wife want their assets to be divided. They can also plan for contingent events, such as deaths in the family and how that will affect the distributions. And while few people want to put every item in their estate plan (such as a pig-shaped cutting board), rules can be laid down for how the new ownership of those items can be determined in a fair manner, preventing hurt feelings and arguments.
You too can plan for your family and ensure they have the protections they need. Meet with an MH attorney and discover how we can help you and your loved ones. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888.222.1328 today!
How an Estate Plan from Morris Hall Can Protect Your Family:
We live in a litigious society, where over 1 million lawsuits are filed every year in America alone. Financial predators are looking for ways to take funds from others and often use litigation as their means to do so. At Morris Hall we provide your assets and your loved ones with important protections that can prevent financial predators from taking advantage of you. We do this through proper and current estate planning techniques. With an MH living trust, we can also protect your property, assets and loved ones from probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, creditors, Medicaid spend-down, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings, ex-spouses and more. A living trust also keeps your asset and beneficiary information private and secure to avoid giving financial predators information to use against you and your family. Without a living trust, this information will be made public. For those living in Arizona, we serve the areas of Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Sonoita, Arrowhead, Avondale, Goodyear and Tempe. In New Mexico we serve the areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences and more.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.