Transferring Personal Property


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Principles of tranferring untitled personal property in estate planning

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  • We seem to assume that our personal items are not important enough to plan their passing, even though they were important to us and they may be a significant source of memories or comfort to those we leave behind. We also seem to assume that everyone will cordially receive or pass out our personal goods with no stress or argument about who should receive what or how these items should be divided.
  • Inheritance plays an important dynamic in whether and how families remain connected following our death. Making decisions and talking about inheritance issues, including non-titled property, are not easy for some family members. Such issues may be avoided in part because: Everyone has to face his own mortality or the mortality of family members Individuals fear how others may interpret their motives. Conflict or disagreement is expected – feelings can too easily be hurt due to the emotion attached to personal property Individuals may be grieving the loss of their own or another’s independence, changes in health, or moving from one’s house
  • For the previous reasons, most families will face less stress and emotional issues if they develop a plan for personal (non-titled) property transfer before death and while the property holder is of clear mind and sound health.
  • Each participant believes his or her perception of what is fair should be used to allocate or transfer non-titled property. When the “rules” are violated, the decisions are considered unfair. To further complicate the process, these “rules” often remain unwritten and are seldom talked about among family members.
  • HANDOUTS: Rules For Deciding Who Receives Which Items Should be discussed first. Personal Property Inventory Second step – list everything that might be of importance to pass on Personal Property Memorandum Legal instrument attached to the will that actually conveys the property
  • Transferring Personal Property

    1. 1. TRANSFERRING PERSONAL PROPERTY Bill Taylor Community Development Area Educator UW Cooperative Extension Service
    2. 2. Who Gets My Personal Stuff? <ul><li>We all have personal items that are important or precious to us or to those that are associated with us </li></ul><ul><li>In estate planning, personal items are often ignored, yet they may cause some of the most significant emotions and conflicts </li></ul>
    3. 3. Families and Personal Inheritance <ul><li>Inheritance is not simply an economic and legal issue and personal items are a major part of the process </li></ul><ul><li>Complex emotional and family relationships impact decision making </li></ul><ul><li>Inheritance decisions concerning personal property involve economic and emotional consequences and can enhance or destroy family continuity </li></ul>
    4. 4. Families and Personal Inheritance <ul><li>There tends to be less stress and emotion if a plan is developed before death </li></ul><ul><li>While property holder is of clear mind and sound health, if possible </li></ul>
    5. 5. Unique Challenges for Personal Property Transfer <ul><li>Sentimental meanings make decisions more emotional </li></ul><ul><li>Objects involve the process of grieving and saying goodbye </li></ul><ul><li>Objects help preserve memories, family history and family rituals </li></ul>
    6. 6. Unique Challenges for Personal Property Transfer (cont.) <ul><li>Being “fair” is more complex: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal belongings have different meanings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to measure worth or value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impossible to divide items “equally” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Distribution methods and consequences are less-clear </li></ul>
    7. 7. What is Non-Titled Property? <ul><li>Personal items that do not have a registered title, such as land or vehicles </li></ul><ul><li>Non-titled property includes items like: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guns - Linens, needlework, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools quilts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Furniture - Clothes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books, papers - Jewelry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dishes - Tack </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collections - Photos, pictures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hobby items - Personal care items </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything that has emotional and/or economic value </li></ul></ul>HANDOUTS