Sparing Your Heirs A Battle Over Things

An estate planning attorney in New York was faced with a thorny problem posed by a client: how to split a painting in half.

Safavid period (1501-1722), Attributed to Iran...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The client’s mother specified that each of her sons get half of her assets, but she didn’t make special provisions for her personal possessions, and their was a painting that both sons wanted.

One son went to the house and snatched the painting, according to an article on The executor of the will was willing to give the other son the appraised value of the painting, but the other son wanted the painting, not the money. So the two sons went to court. Legal fees have so far outstripped the value of the painting and the sons no longer talk to each other.

The moral: specify in your will who gets what. In some states, you can attach a codicil to your will indicating that you’ve made a separate list distributing your possessions. If you do that, you can update it from time to time without changing your will.

But before you make the list, ask. Don’t assume who will want what. If there are conflicts, you can resolve them one way or another. You can even roll dice.

If you have questions about your will or anything involving your estate, feel free to contact us for a consultation at (626) 696-3145.

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