Your lawyer called to tell you your Great Aunt Bessie passed. Surprise! She left you a house full of her belongings.
Are you wondering what are you’re going to do with it all?
It takes about 16 months to settle an estate in the US. When someone dies it can be an emotional time for the family, especially if they leave behind a lot of possessions.
Here’s a helpful guide to dealing with an inheritance of physical goods.
Secure the Possessions
When someone leaves a household of goods, anyone with a key may feel entitled to what is your inheritance. It’s a good idea to have the locks changed to prevent unwanted visitors.
Follow the Wishes of the Deceased
Read the will carefully. In many cases, people will leave specific things to individuals in their will. It’s important to follow their instructions. Be sure to communicate these wishes to other members of the family.
If you are the executor and there are other heirs, have them specify what items they would like to have. Place a value on these items and keep track so you can ensure a similar value goes to the other heirs.
Speak With Close Friends and Relatives
If there are no specific instructions in the will, you may want to give special keepsakes to people that will appreciate them. A personal gift is another mode of inheritance. Many items don’t have great monetary value but friends and family will appreciate them.
Old photos and other items hold important memories but they take up space. If they’re not important to you, you don’t have to be the one that keeps them forever.
If you’ve inherited a large number of personal belongings it can be a huge job. Take the time to go through the belongings and do some sorting. Antiques that have value should be set aside.
Items that don’t look valuable may be worth more than you realize. Ask an accountant about any inheritance tax that may be payable.
Hire a professional appraiser to do a walk-through. They can help you understand what items have value. Don’t give away or donate anything until you’ve done this step.
Consider Any Collections
You may have inherited a collection of spoons or coins or even beanie babies. You might be thrilled to keep them for yourself. If not, consider selling them to another collector.
Consider contacting a buyer for specific items. Antique books may be sold to companies for cash. Check out http://cash4yourbooks.com/rare-and-vintage-first-edition-book-buyers/ if you have inherited some old books.
You could donate a collection of items to a museum if they are suitable. Another option is to donate them to a charity auction. They will issue you a receipt which you may use for tax purposes.
Take the Time You Need to Evaluate Your Inheritance
There are a lot of ways to deal with an inheritance. It’s important to take the time you need to sort through the items. It’s great when you find a good source of practical information.
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