Step 1) Personal Property Assessment

Inventory Property

Begin by creating a list of all estate property that is of consequence.  This can often mean items of high value or of high sentimental value. Some discretion is allowed to the executor or trustee, though caution is in order to ensure harmony with beneficiaries.  Also, property subject to State, Federal, or Local law should be carefully distributed.

Determine Values and/or Get an Appraisal

Beneficiaries can more easily choose items of personal property when they understand the value of the property.  In the case of common items, online resources such as auction websites can be helpful in figuring out values.  However, with more rare items such as art, collections, or jewelry, it can be important to seek the advice of a professional appraiser.

Ascertain Wishes and Requests

Beneficiaries should be given an opportunity to prioritize the gifts they would like to receive from the estate.  Use the below form to ensure that each beneficiary has a fair chance to state their desired distribution from the estate.

Step 2) Personal Property Gifts & Sales

Gifts to Beneficiaries

After conducting an inventory, determining values, and collecting beneficiary bequests, gifts to beneficiaries should be made.  Where several beneficiaries request the same item, there are a number of methods for fair resolution.  Try using the below "conflict-free gift methods" to avoid conflict.

Estate Sales and Estate Auctions

Where the personal property of an estate is best sold, it can be advantageous to engage the services of a professional estate sale and estate auction company.

Gifts to Museums or Universities

Caution should be taken in giving personal property to gifts or museums, as tax deductions for the gifts may or may not be permissible depending on the source of the gift and the activities of the recipient.