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Important personal property to include in estate plans

When it comes to estate planning, many people think about who should receive bigger assets like real estate, stocks and business interests. Personal property is often forgotten when dividing an estate. However, residents in Georgia and other states who own art, antiques and collectibles may need to make sure these items are included in an estate plan.

Personal property like jewelry, rare coins, firearms and more may need special consideration when distributing an estate. These items can be harder to keep track of because there may not be an updated, easily identifiable record of these belongings.

To track personal property, one could use computer software to create a list of important items. This can help ensure items are not misplaced, lost or forgotten about. Relevant parties, such as financial advisors, attorneys, trustees and heirs, should have access to the list.

When making a list, other information like appraisals or receipts could be included. Even if not everything is attached with the list, one might need a place to keep important documentation like bills of sale, insurance reports, certificates of authenticity and artist's notes. All of this could make it easier for others to verify and evaluate personal items.

Estate administration and probate can be complicated, but proper planning may simplify matters and put less hassle on a decedent's loved ones. When passing on personal items and other assets, an attorney could help a client determine if a trust is necessary. Trusts are used to avoid the probate process and offer privacy. They may also be useful for dictating specific instructions for how property should be divided. For example, one might wish to give heirs payments over a certain period of time rather than all at once.

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