Dealing With the Tangible Property Left Behind by Mom and Dad

Jun 12, 2013

When a parent dies, one difficult problem to deal with is the mountains of tangible personal property left behind. This problem is especially difficult for children who have been named executor over their parent’s estate. The difficulties that arise with personal property are not always obvious when you first begin dealing with the issue. If you are in the position where you have to decide how to distribute tangible personal property, here are three issues you want to keep in mind.


One of the harder challenges you may have to face with personal property is simply a task of finding out what there is. To inventory personal property effectively, you’ll probably want to go room by room in the house, not leaving a room until you catalogue everything.


Listing small personal property items, such as books, collectibles, and other knickknacks can be daunting during the inventory process. To more easily handle such property you can simply group similar items together and list those groups on the inventory list. For example, you might list “100 paperbacks” or “12 collectible figurines.”


After inventorying everything you need to determine the value of each piece of property. You can often use Internet sites such as eBay to get a good idea of common items, while potentially valuable items such as antiques and rare collectibles may require you to contact an appraiser. If you hold an estate sale you will have to list each item’s value as the price it sold for.

If you’re just getting started with the estate planning process and want to know more about living trusts, you can attend one of our next free living trust seminars on June 13 and 18th in Greensboro, North Carolina. Contact our office for registration details.

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