We all have sentimental personal items, some with little market value and some more valuable, which we wish to leave to family members and friends. These items can include jewelry, family heirlooms, and artwork or maybe a collection of items (for example dolls, holiday ornaments, fishing gear or tools). The disposition of these items should be done through an Estate Planning Letter which is provided to our clients in their Estate Planning Portfolio. This document gives direction to your Trustee(s) on the disposition of these select personal items. When completing the Estate Planning Letter, you must be very specific. For example, do not simply write painting because the painting may be one of several paintings you own. Instead, include the artist, the print number and even the location of the painting within your home. Some clients even put together a photo album indicating who receives which item. The same applies for who you wish to leave the item to. For example, do not write niece/nephew, brother/sister, or friend (you may have several of them), instead specifically name the person. It is recommended that the Estate Planning Letter be completed in your own handwriting and signed and dated.
At some point you may change your mind about which person receives which item. If you do change your mind, you should start the Estate Planning Letter over. Do not scratch the person’s name and put in another name. You are not around to explain why you have changed your mind, thus possibly leaving bitterness and fighting among people.
If you have questions regarding the Estate Planning Letter, give our office a call at
(650) 463-1550 and set up an appointment with one of our highly qualified Estate Planning Attorneys.