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Estate planning goes beyond monetary value

Families often create histories, and when a loved one dies, survivors may be eager to preserve those histories. While many in Texas may focus their estate planning on larger assets such as bank accounts and real estate, some heirs are more interested in those items of sentimental value. Legal experts recommend that those preparing their wills look beyond the obvious to those items that may cause conflict between heirs.

It may not be monetary value that interests one's heirs. In fact, many attorneys have seen families argue over relatively worthless items that carry great sentimental value, such as recipes or Christmas ornaments. One way to prevent many of these disputes is for those planning their estates to ask potential heirs for lists of items they would want to receive as an inheritance. A will is a good place to include those bequests, along with pictures for clarification.

Verbal bequests are tricky and difficult to prove if the matter goes to court. Additionally, leaving the distribution of one's assets to an heir is a risk since one may not be certain of the intentions of every heir. Advisors recommend that those planning their wills not forget unusual and complicated possessions, such as digital accounts, reproductive assets and weapons. Some of these items fall under the protection of special laws and are best handled with the advice of an attorney.

Estate planning is important, even if one is not wealthy in material assets. Often family members want mementos, but even these items are part of an estate and are likely protected by Texas estate laws. This is why the assistance of an attorney when drafting a will is beneficial. An attorney can guide one in the best options for ensuring one's wishes are expressed and followed.

Source: CNBC, "7 ways that cheap Tweety Bird figurine can screw up your estate", Kelli B. Grant, Oct. 10, 2017

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