What happens to your personal belongings after you die? Whether or not you have thought about it or experienced it first-hand, chances are you know someone who might have been faced with this question when someone close to them has passed. Your belongings involve all forms of personal possessions such as clothing, jewelry, family heirlooms, memorabilia and personal property like your home and vehicles. Personal possessions in legal language is called chattels.
Even if your family and friends know your wishes for who should receive your personal belongings, they aren’t always granted. If you die without a last will it is known as “intestate,” which means the state will decide how your property is distributed. How personal belongings are distributed after you die depends on the state you live in, but in general most states follow familial lineage guidelines:
Who Gets My Stuff When I die?
Spouse, Children, Parents
If you have a spouse and children, your property is divided among them.
If you have children but no spouse, your children will get your property.
If you have a spouse, parents and siblings, but no children, some states will give all to your spouse and some states divide between spouse, parents and siblings.
Siblings, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews
If you do not have a spouse, children or parents, your siblings get your property.
If none of the above apply or are surviving, the familial order in which your belongings are distributed includes: grandparents, aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews.
What about friends?
Many of us have acquired friends over the years who feel like family. If you would like friends to receive your personal belongings after you die it’s best to get a will. You can create a will through an attorney or service like LegalZoom.
How will my loved ones know my final wishes?
Personal belongings are sometimes the only tangible reminder of a loved one who has passed and can be the source of great debate for those left behind. Eliminate the stress, confusion and second-guessing for family and friends by storing your final wishes in a secure and safe environment, ready to be shared when the time is right.
Death is a part of life. Your Life. Their Future. Start planning today.
Beneficiaries miss out on life insurance benefits all too often. The odds that you're owed money from a lost, forgotten or unknown policy are about one in 600. Besides life insurance, there may be other assets a deceased person might have that family members may be totally unaware of. Without an organized list, your loved ones and beneficiaries may be missing out.
In a recent report we touched on the importance of keeping certain financial documents. Today, we are taking a deeper dive into what you should keep and for how long. We'll also give you suggestions on where to store documents, and when they are no longer needed, how to get rid of them.
In a recent report, Care.com talked about the importance of end-of-life planning and included My Life and Wishes as the “best on-line end-of-life planning and document service(s)”. In a related Article, Kim Komando names My Life and Wishes as one of her top picks on organizing end-of-life plans.
What information do people need to access in emergency situations? A trip to the ER may require: List of allergies, current medications, medical history, doctor contacts, family contacts, insurance information, photo identification. A fire or natural disaster may require: Identification documents, insurance documents, proof of ownership (such as deeds or titles), access to bank accounts for emergency cash, pet location information, medical information and family contact information. So where do you keep this information? Is it accessible and is it secure?