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How should I handle sentimental items in my estate plan?

Coming up with a plan to divide up assets such as jewelry, artwork, or family heirlooms in your will can be hard if you don't know what something is or what it's worth. What you may hold near and dear may be starkly different from the items someone else values. One way to ensure that your wishes for these items are honored is for you to address them in your estate plan.

A great place to start when crafting your estate plan is to inventory all of your assets that you wish to pass down to your heirs. You then should clearly designate whether you want the item itself or the proceeds from their sale to go to your heir.

Next, you'll need to make contact with someone who can calculate the item's fair market value for you. By knowing this, you'll better know how much your estate is worth and how much you're leaving to each heir.

When pricing your items, it's important that you don't rely on free sources of information, such as a relative or an online price guide. Prices can change fast and parties may have an ulterior motive for quoting a certain value. You should instead let an appraiser who's accredited by a certifying body such as the Appraisers Association of America handle this instead.

As you go about selecting who you are going to leave a sentimental item to, you should take into account the heir's feelings. If you know that another item may mean more to them, then you may want to consider leaving that to them instead.

If you decide to sell off an item and leave behind the proceeds from the sale to your heirs, then you may want to consider the capital gains and other tax implications that sale may have.

Dividing up family assets during the estate planning process is particularly important when you have multiple heirs. When you inventory and clearly document your wishes for them, it leaves less to dispute when you pass away. A Queens estate planning attorney can help you sort through the different assets you have and help you figure out the best approach for dividing them fairly between your heirs.

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