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So, who gets my sock monkey?
From eNews, April 15, 2004
Misunderstandings and conflicts can arise when families fail to plan ahead for inheritance, especially of the seemingly trivial items. You may be surprised to find that you're not the only one who wants Uncle Bob's tattered baseball glove or Grandma Daisy's yellow pie plate. Marlene Stum, U associate professor of family social science, has some tips to help with the "who gets what" decision-making process.
- Recognize that decisions about personal belongings are often more challenging than those made about titled property. You should never assume a personal item is unimportant or trivial.
- When decisions are made prior to death, they can reflect the owner's wishes and special memories. Planning ahead versus waiting until a crisis or death offers more choices and a chance for thoughtful communication with family members.
- Remember that different perceptions of what's "fair" are normal and should be expected. Being fair does not always mean being equal. In fact, dividing personal property equally is sometimes impossible.
- Identifying which items have special meaning and to whom will help you avoid inaccurate assumptions about who should get what. Not everyone will find the same items meaningful.
- Put your wishes in writing, typically in a separate listing mentioned in a will, to reduce the dilemmas and decisions for estate executors and surviving family members.