Every person owns certain property that is special to them. Wedding or engagement rings, furniture, or art collections are examples of sentimental items that people can accumulate during their lives. These items may be worth a lot due to their collection value. Sometimes items are special for personal reasons.
It is not unusual for people to want certain family members or friends to have these sentimental items or particular things.
People that have these items need to be very careful when it comes to estate planning. Many times people take short cuts. They give verbal instructions to the family as to who will get what when they die. Persons sometimes put names on the bottom of items to indicate who will get the item when that person dies.
It is important to remember that to guarantee that a someone gets that sentimental item, it should be provided for in a will. Under Louisiana law, a will must be in proper form. Verbal instructions and labels on items are not in proper form. Unless there is a legal will, the bequest will be not be enforceable if any of the other heirs contest it.
So it is important to provide for particular bequests of movables in your will or make a clear written donation of the item while you are alive.
If you have any questions regarding wills, please consult an experienced estate planning or succession attorney.
-Kent S. DeJean