While it can be easy to distribute the major possessions like homes, cars and money, often smaller, sentimental items can be left behind. What happens to possessions or property that no one wants then?
Distribution of items
Your personal representative will carry out the duty of dividing your estate after your death. Your estate includes property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, etc. This can also include gifts such as jewelry for example or amounts of money. Donations to charities can also be made.
Essentially, everything left in your estate can be given to named individuals, charities, or entities.
If you have items in a trust agreement the possessions must be distributed as you have outlined in the trust agreement
Only items that are in your trust are covered by the trust instructions and this can include bank accounts, property, etc. Similar to a will, there can be specific gifts and then gifts of the rest of your trust property
Memorandum Distributing Tangible Personal Property
This is included in a will or trust referenced as “See my memorandum instructing the distribution of certain pieces of tangible personal property.” A memorandum can be changed and makes adding and deleting items easier.
Dividing Trust or Estate Property
Following the instructions of the will or trust and any memorandum, the personal representative or trustee must ensure the safe delivery of a specific gift to your beneficiary. However, the beneficiary does not have to accept the gift, they can disclaim it or refuse it legally, passing it on to the next beneficiary in line.
What if no one wants these items?
If you don’t have anyone to pass on your possessions to, some people opt for donations to charities or have your personal representative go through family and friends to see if anyone wants the unwanted items. There are also other methods to get rid of the unwanted estate or trust property:
- Estate sale/auction – an estate sale or auction is an alternative way to settle any remaining estate. After the selling company’s commission, any sale proceeds are part of the estate or trust and are divided among the beneficiaries as instructed in the will or trust
- Donation. If you did not name a charity in your will or trust, the beneficiaries of your will or trust can still cooperatively agree on a charity to receive the items they do not want. Any agreement deviating from your specific wishes should be documented in writing and signed by all beneficiaries. The estate usually bears the cost of delivery for all items to the agreed-upon charities.
- Disposal. Any item not disposed of in any of the manners above can be disposed of by the executor or trustee, usually by putting them in the regular trash, arranging for trash disposal, or having a junk hauling company pick them up.
Creating a complete estate plan will ensure all your possessions are correctly and evenly distributed including instructions on what to do with items that may go unwanted. Give Music City Estate Law in Franklin, TN a call today and we can discuss your options over the phone or via video conference.