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When It Comes to Estate Planning, Even the Little Things Count

Daryll Pomey Orat - Sunday, January 04, 2015

Most people focus on the larger assets, like their house, retirement assets and life insurance policies in their will. However, as many Los Angeles estate planning lawyers see, disputes can crop up over some of the person’s most mundane possessions.

Legal disputes can emerge over sewing kits and paperweights. Many times, family members end up fighting over collectibles and knickknacks that may not have a lot of financial value, but have a lot of sentimental value for children. These are items that the person may not have bothered to account for in his will at all.

Actor Robin Williams’ family is currently in the midst of legal wrangling over several knickknacks. His children have filed a lawsuit against his third wife, who was his wife at the time of his death. The collections that are the focus of the dispute include Japanese anime, collections of graphic novels, walking sticks and even movie posters. On their own, these may not have a lot of value, but because they were collected by an iconic Hollywood star, they are likely to be worth a lot.

His children claim in their filing that their father's third wife was only married him for three years, and was motivated by greed when she had all of his possessions appraised. They allege that the collection is highly valuable, because of the huge market for celebrity memorabilia.

Even if you're not a celebrity, and don't expect to have your collections shoot up in value, it's important to make sure that all your possessions are divided. You may believe that some of the items you own like your books, or your favorite pen have no value to your heirs, but these could be the things that your heirs end up fighting about. Speak to a California estate planning lawyer about how to go about crafting an estate plan.


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