Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Happens to Personal Property When Someone Dies?

It's the little things that matter.  And its the little things that tend to start family feuds when a loved one has died. I have seen children of a decedent fight over hunting rifles that do not work, a pickle dish that mom had bought at a garage sale, and furniture that would not fetch $20 at a rummage sale.

Estate planning sounds like a fancy and expensive process, but in reality it is simply taking charge of the situation by telling the probate court what to do with your stuff when you die. Sure there are the big items like a home, car, and savings account.  But it never fails that the little items create the biggest waves.

How does one handle dictating what happens to their stuff, or in legal mumbo jumbo, their tangible personal property?  If you live in Wisconsin, state statute 853.32 allows you to mention in your will that you have created another document that lists your property and who should receive it.  This is great because you don't have to clutter up your will with references to wedding rings, china sets, and hunting rifles.

Take charge.  If something little matters to your loved ones, then take control and state what should happen to it upon your death.  Remember, a blog is not a substitute for an attorney.  This is not legal advice, but rather the musings of an estate planning attorney in Madison, Wisconsin.  It is best that you consult with an attorney, in your state, about your specific situation.

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