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Preventing estate battles over tangible items

It's not uncommon for Nevada families to fight over a deceased parent's personal property. While bitter disputes over multi-million-dollar fortunes are usually the kind of estate battles that make the news, the majority of estate battles involve valueless objects. Things that may have no monetary value can hold tremendous sentimental value to a person's loved ones.

Many battles begin when beneficiaries go to a decedent's home and simply take items that they believe should go to them. If there is no mention of personal property in the testator's will, multiple beneficiaries may feel entitled to keep the same sentimental objects. To help beneficiaries avoid these kinds of disputes, testators should make sure that they specify who gets what in their will or create a tangible personal property memorandum.

People who have simply told their family members and friends who gets to keep their sentimental property when they die have not done enough to prevent disputes. Oral promises are not legally binding, so clear instructions for the bequest must be written down on an official document. A tangible personal property memorandum might contain a statement that says that all of a person's property goes to the surviving spouse unless otherwise specified.

Another crucial task that people should complete to prevent disputes over their estate is to name a trusted individual to serve as the executor. People who are leaving part of their estate in a trust will also have to name a trustee. An estate planning attorney can be of assistance to a client in helping to ensure that these types of inheritance issues are handled in advance.

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