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Resting in peace means keeping the peace over your possessions

Leaving a will is partly to make it clear who gets your things. By doing so, you would hope that you won't be splitting heirs — that is causing a rift between your loved ones if they have to decide how to share your belongings.

When you're fashioning your will, it might be a good idea to stipulate to whom you would like your individual personal possessions to go. After all, cutting Granny's handmade quilt in two would not bode well for anyone. Perhaps a discussion with your family members may prove helpful when making these decisions.

Quarrelling and quibbling over your things

The last thing you would want is to have your loved ones fighting over your things. It can and does happen. Grief can fuel erratic behavior in people. Emotions are running high and can get out of hand. That's why it might be important for you to leave specific instructions in your estate plan to make the process easier on your family.

Perhaps for some loved ones, your things aren't just stuff. Some of your possessions may have a sentimental connection to you for certain family members and it may be prudent for you to get a handle on that and to include these things in estate planning.

Is a will enough?

The family dynamic is different in today's society. Perhaps you have divorced and remarried and you are part of a blended family. In such cases, adding a codicil to your will stating that you have an additional list of items you would like distributed and to whom, might be a wise idea. This way, your actual will won't need changing, but if you change your mind about who should get what, you can always have changes made to the codicil.

How all this will play out

There are various ways for disbursing your personal things. Here are some transparent ways of having it done, so everything is on the table:

  • Ask your children and grandchildren to choose 10 sentimental things they would like to have and 10 things that have some monetary value and share the list. If more than one person would like something, they can do the negotiating.
  • Give loved ones some stickers. Each person gets a specific color and the same amount. Let them go around and place stickers on what they would like.
  • Have a fun auction. Use pretend "money." Everyone starts with the same amount.
  • Draw straws or roll the dice. The winner gets the first choice; the second winner gets second choice and so on.

Help in resolving conflicts

Help is readily available should family members be fighting over your things. An experienced Arizona attorney can help you fashion a process should conflicts arise, especially having done everything you could not to have them crop up. In addition, an attorney can ensure that your final wishes are met and that your legacy is preserved.

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