Assets in a Will

Personal Finance August 18, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF

Assets in a will, such as property, can be listed simply or detailed. They may include such non-titled property as family heirlooms and keepsakes, which have much more sentimental than financial value. Oftentimes, distributing family heirlooms and keepsakes presents greater challenges for family members than transferring titled property.

It is important to learn your state's laws regarding non-titled property transfer. The law varies widely from state to state on what is required to make wishes regarding personal property binding on the heirs of an estate. If you anticipate disputes over who gets what, talk to an attorney in your state to find out what you need to do to properly plan for personal property in your state. What worked for a loved one in another state may not work for you.

For ideas on discussing the distribution of non-titled property with sentimental value, see "Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?” http://www.yellowpieplate.umn.edu/indexB.html

Remember that some assets with beneficiaries—which may include life insurance policies, pension funds, and Individual Retirement Accounts—pass outside of a will.