“Estate Affairs” – Gary Altman Offers Expert Advice to Making Sure Family Heirlooms End Up in the Right Hands

Emotions run high when it comes to dividing up family heirlooms. In an interview with Family Tree magazine, estate planning attorney, Gary Altman, offers sound advice on how to best ensure that your possessions end up where you want them.

Not surprisingly, Altman’s first recommendation is to have a will. He says, “[Absent a will] someone’s going to come into your home and sell everything or throw it away.”

To avoid that from happening, Altman suggests that people incorporate specific wishes into your will – or – create a “side letter” (also known as an “ethical will”). In order for either to be effective, Altman cautions, “You have to be very clear about who is going to get [what] property.”

For more information on passing on personal belongings, Altman recommends visiting www.yellowpieplate.umn.edu.