Personal property that can be included in a Will.
By Melissa Broad, Contributing Writer.
Taking the time to allocate your estate to named beneficiaries in your Will is a valuable enterprise that avoids confusion and disagreements among your loved ones, as well as mismanagement of your assets should they fall into the wrong hands.
When you include a personal property list and appointed beneficiaries in your Will, you ensure that ownership of your property will be transferred according to your exact wishes and this, in turn, gives you peace of mind. However, to streamline the process, you need first to have a clear idea of what's essential and what's not, depending on your circumstances.
Appropriate property to include in your Will
Generally, property that can be included in a will is categorized as follows:
Real, tangible property consists of any land that you own inclusive of valuable components or developments attached to that land (buildings, monuments, etc.)
Financial assets can be classified as tangible (cash and money stored in bank accounts etc.) or intangible (investments, stocks, intellectual property, copyrights, royalties, trade secrets, patents, and Goodwill).
Non-productive assets have value but do not generate cash flow or produce anything. Examples include gold, jewelry, artwork, and antiques.
Residual property covers all property that has not been specifically allocated to any beneficiary. Thus, including a residual clause and bestowing all your remaining property to a named inheritor in a will helps to take care of any loose ends.
These four categories will help you to quickly decide which property should be included in a will, and this makes the distribution process more efficient.
Carrying out a stock-take on your assets
Once you know the type of properties that should be included in a will, the next logical step is to itemize all your relevant assets. The list should be as thorough as possible to avoid overlooking any valuable property. If a critical asset is accidentally left out of a will, the intended beneficiary might not be able to receive the rights to that property. In such cases, where no provision is made for a particular property, the courts are mandated to assign ownership of the property using intestacy law.
Asset distribution can be a straightforward or complex process depending on whether your property inventory comprises complicated assets or not. If your list of assets is quite simple and doesn't necessitate seeking legal advice, then all you have to do is clearly state the beneficiary for each asset as well as any details pertinent to the distribution process. However, if there are any intricate financial settlements or too many details that need to be taken care of, then consulting with an attorney might make the process easier. While legal counsel is optional during the making of a will, it is very helpful when dealing with estate taxes, ownership shares, and the setting up of trusts etc.