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Actual Transfer of Your Personal Property

Actual Transfer of Your Personal Property

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Published by Bill Taylor
Once recipients have been determined, actual transfer of personal items may be accomplished in one of two ways.
Once recipients have been determined, actual transfer of personal items may be accomplished in one of two ways.

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Published by: Bill Taylor on Feb 12, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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When a determination has been made, during estate planning, who will receive personal items,a couple of methods may be used to actually assure transfer of items to the proper recipient.One method is to actually gift the item at the time of decision, so that it no longer belongs tothe original owner.If the original owner is still living, they usually do not want to give away all their personalbelongings at this point. Therefore, they need to complete a personal property memorandum(check with your attorney) to make their distribution decisions binding. This document must be
referred to in the owner’s will and should be on file either with the will or other important
documents. Each item that is to be distributed to a specific individual should be listed, alongwith the name, address and relationship of the person receiving the item. Each page must bedated and signed for the document to be legally binding. Complete and file the personalproperty memorandum with other estate documents to complete the process. If items aresubsequently added or removed from the property owned, those changes will need to be madeon the memorandum and a new page signed and dated.
Conflicts and disagreements can arise during this process, so be committed not to let stress andconflict destroy your family and your relationships. No object, no matter how precious, is worththat.When conflicts do arise, have a plan for dealing with them. The possibility of conflicts and howto handle them should be discussed at the beginning of the process, before they arise, notwhen emotions have gotten heated. It is important to realize that conflict is a normal part of 
life and is not necessarily “good” or
“bad,” but merely reflects lack of communication,
miscommunication, or differences in values, beliefs, or expectations.Most conflicts can be resolved by proper listening skills, and making statements about how wefeel, rather than making statements about the motives of others. Work at listening skills likeeliminating distractions, keeping eye contact, facing the speaker, keeping a comfortabledistance, and listening for feelings and facts rather than using their speaking time to frame yourreply or counter-attack. Practice reframing what you thought you heard back to the speaker tosee if they really meant what you think you heard. When you express your side of the issue, tryto stick to statements that reflect
understanding of the problem, how it makes you feel,and what effect the behavior of others has on you. Try to continue the discussion withoutassigning blame until each side has had an opportunity to express their views and feelings. Thensee if you can be creative enough to come up with suggestions and/or solutions that mightaddress the issue in such a way that all can receive some satisfaction.
If the conflict cannot be resolved, then consider bringing in a facilitator or mediator that mayhelp to bring objectivity to the process. Consider using a professional mediator or other personthat has been trained in reconciling conflicts to help you through to consensus.As you bring the process to a close, there are some final steps that should be considered.Be sure that all the legal documents, including will and personal property memorandum are inorder and properly filed. Be sure someone else knows where these documents are filed and hasaccess to them.Share the outcome of the process with family and other concerned persons, unless it wouldcause more family turmoil. Doing this personally, rather than waiting until the list is divulgedupon your death, will help to minimize misunderstandings.Since family heritage, culture, and continuity are important, and one of the basic reasons fordistributing personal property, tell stories as you give away items that are important to you.Explain why these things are important, what they mean in family history, and what you feelyou are passing on to recipients when you give them away. Story telling might become a familytradition as various items are passed down to those who will own them next.

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