Distributing an Estate's Personal Property
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Distributing an Estate’s Personal Property

Different than money, personal possessions typically can’t be divided equally following their owner passing away. This is why distributing belongings such as furniture, jewelry, dishes, silverware, painting, photographs or clothes is usually the most complicated challenge in the settlement of an estate.

It may help if the deceased individual had declared in their will or in an individual memorandum who should get what. In a lot of states, references inside a will to such paperwork over what is in theory known as “tangible personal property” makes the list mandatory.  The list is able to be updated without modifying the will, although it’s wise to verify with your lawyer before modifying the list.

Usually items of little monetary worth have greater emotional meaning. This can make allocation challenging when more than one individual feel attached to a specific item. The process can also become the stage for playing out old family instability and grudges. Everyone may go back to the relationships they had when they were younger.

Having said that, a lot of families can work out the allocation of personal possessions that haven’t been directed by the deceased in a just way.

Here are a couple of methods:

  • Draw plenty and take turns choosing items. To make this method even more fair, change the order of each round of picking. The individual that went 2nd in the 1st round will go 1st in the 2nd.  For example, when there are three children, the order of pick personal items would go like this: 1-2-3, 2-3-1, 3-1-2, etc.
  • Utilize colored stickers for each individual to indicate what they want. The method may be hastened by each individual placing a sticker on the items they want. When there’s just 1 sticker on an item, it is going to go to that individual. When there’s more than 1, then the family can go back in taking turns on the disputed items.
  • Get valuations. Determining who gets what can become more challenging if some items have considerably more worth than others. When families use the taking turns method of allocation, the individual that gets the 1st pick could walk off with the only da Vinci. It could be necessary for a couple of rounds for everybody to pick items of likewise value, some individuals getting only one item whereas others pick several that combined are valued at as much as the most expensive item. In many cases, the individual and/or individuals receiving the most costly items may have to pay the other family members. Or, the family members could decide that the only just way, is to sell the most valuable items and share the proceeds among each other.
  • Make copies. Whereas many personal possessions are unique, in cases of pictures and videos copies are able to be made just as good as the original. A lot of family members will be content with a copy.
  • Use online services such as FairSplit.com to inventory and split personal property in an estate.
  • Work alongside a senior move manager, that can serve as a unbiased 3rd party that can be trusted by family members and can alleviate the strong feelings between siblings.
  • Get a mediator. Whereas there are challenges among family members over specific items, usually estate attorneys take the role as mediators, but you can also go to a knowledgeable mediator. Mediation could assist the family members get at the base of the interests with the method, healing long lost grievances and wounds rather than making them worse.

In a lot of cases, families use a mixture of these techniques to come up with a just system of allocation. Occasionally, nevertheless, individual’s schedules stop from everyone gathering in one place to make allocation or the method gets dragged out because of other reasons.


  1. Seven ideas for distributing an ESTATE’S personal property in a fair way. (2015, July 09). Retrieved June 08, 2021, from https://www.elderlawanswers.com/six-ideas-for-distributing-an-estates-personal-property-in-a-fair-way–15223

Arizona Family Law

Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.

There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.

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