Much of the discussion about how to avoid family feuds over estates focuses on major items. The focus is on making sure that everyone gets his or her fair share of the estate's wealth, so they will be satisfied and not challenge the estate.
That is an important discussion, but little items of personal property can also be a problem, as CNBC discusses in "7 Ways that cheap Tweety Bird figurine can screw up your estate."
Potential problems include:
• Items that do not have great monetary value can still have great sentimental value to family members. If two people want the same item, it can be difficult to resolve that dispute.
• Do not tell anyone verbally they can have a piece of personal property without putting that in writing in your estate plan. If other people want the same item, the person you want to have it will have no way of proving that you said they could have it.
• Do not just let your family divide all your assets between themselves when you pass away. It is most likely that they will fight over who gets what.
• Even if you have given someone access to a safety deposit box and told them they can have the contents after you pass away, you still need to make that official in your estate plan.
• Make sure that any unusual items have been planned for, such as digital media accounts and frequent flyer rewards.
• Items regulated by the government can be complicated. You should plan accordingly.
• Your executor will need to have the authority to change the locks on your door. You would be surprised how often people simply walk in and help themselves to items that they want.
Reference: CNBC (Oct. 10, 2017) "7 Ways that cheap Tweety Bird figurine can screw up your estate."