Who gets the family silver once you've gone?

Personal chattels are something which can be fought over more than cash! In my experience, personal items can be more important to family members than the money given their sentimental value.

I have written previously about this issue, but it has come to my attention again as Audrey Hepburn’s sons fight over her memorabilia, such as clothing, posters and photos. Her sons have been fighting for two years over who gets what!

Although Audrey had left items equally between her two sons in her Will, she had not allocated specific items. They are now to be auctioned by Christie’s in London and the proceeds will be shared equally between them.

You can avoid any dispute after your death by either allocating items to certain people in your Will, or alternatively leaving a letter of wishes with your Will, indicating to your Executors how items can be allocated. It is important that this list is kept up to date, but by doing it this way, you can change your mind as often as you like without having to change your Will!

While your items might not be worth as much as Audrey Hepburn’s (her annotated ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s Script is expected to make up to £100,000!), you can ensure that your items pass to who you want them to!

And given that Audrey died in 1993, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s about time her estate was sorted out!

Published 27 June 2017

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