Looking at this weekend’s forecast for Ottawa, I dare say that Mother Nature has finally taken pity on us. Speaking with clients and friends, it seems many of us have already been bitten by the spring cleaning bug despite having to take out our snow shovels earlier this week.
As we go about spring cleaning our office in preparation for an upcoming move (I’ll share more on this exciting news below), I am reminded that it is sometimes a deceased’s household goods and personal items that become the centre of bitter disputes among loved ones. The simple fact is that these items often have tremendous personal and sentimental value despite having little monetary value.
With this in mind, when doing your estate planning consider the articles in and around your home and cottage and think about what you would like done with them at your death. In particular, ask yourself,
- Are there any items that you would like to go to specific beneficiaries?
- Are there any articles that may cause disputes among your beneficiaries?
- What would you like to happen in the event that there is a dispute?
A properly drafted Will should include a definition of exactly what articles are to be considered household goods and personal effects. This is step one in minimizing any possible disputes that could arise.
Step two is clearly setting out how you want your household goods and personal effects to be distributed. Some of the options include:
- Allowing certain beneficiaries, say your children, to decide amongst themselves how to divide the articles. Any disputes could be settled by your executor or you could specify that any articles in dispute shall be sold.
- Allowing certain beneficiaries in a specific order to choose those articles that they want.
- Leaving a memorandum in which you detail articles to go to specific beneficiaries. Such a memorandum can be legally binding so that it must be followed by the executor. Alternatively, a memorandum can be non-binding which means that your executor doesn’t have to abide by it but our experience is that most make every effort to do so. One benefit to a non-binding memorandum is that it can be changed without having to make a formal change to your Wil
Don’t overlook your household goods and personal effects when estate planning even though their monetary value may be minimal. Call 613.836.9915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to meet with me. We will explore your unique family situation and your wishes for what you would like done with your household goods and personal effects. Together we will implement an estate plan that minimizes possible disputes and provides for your loved ones in the best way possible.
WE ARE MOVING! We are thrilled to announce that as of May 1, our office will be moving to 120 Iber Road, Kanata, Ontario. This is just a few blocks from where we are now. We look forward to meeting with you in our new space.
Reproduction of this blog is permitted if the author is credited. If you have questions or if you would like more information, please call us at 613 836-9915. This blog is not intended to be legal advice but contains general information. Please consult a lawyer or other professional to determine how the information in this blog might apply to you.