Personal chattels are belongings that belong to you and are used and owned by you, such as furniture, the items inside your home, and vehicles. These tangible, movable properties are commonly known as personal possessions.
Items predominantly used for business reasons are not classified as personal possessions, just like money and investments. In the event that you have acquired jewellery for both investment and personal use, it will still be regarded as a personal possession.
In the majority of cases, personal belongings account for a relatively small portion of an individual’s estate value. However, failing to address these items correctly in a will can lead to significant conflicts among family members. Even though individual possessions may not hold substantial monetary worth, heightened emotions following a death can often result in upset if someone does not receive an item they believe was promised to them or holds sentimental value.
Proper Techniques for Including Personal Belongings in Your Last Will and Testament
When creating your Will, you have the option to distribute specific personal items as gifts or allow family members to choose an item they would like to keep as a memory of you. However, it’s important to consider that conflicts may arise if multiple individuals express interest in the same item. Another option is to provide guidance to your executors through a separate Letter of wishes stating your preferences for the beneficiaries of your personal possessions. Although a Letter of Wishes doesn’t hold legal weight, executors typically take it into consideration when carrying out their duties.
Personal chattels in a will are personal possessions such as furniture, the contents of your home, and cars. Also referred to as tangible moveable property, personal chattels are items that you own and use personally. You can use your Will to make gifts of specific personal possessions or you can allow family members to each choose something they would like to have to remember you by.
The letter can be used to enumerate your personal belongings and indicate your desired outcome for them. Additionally, you have the flexibility to revise the document at your convenience, ensuring that it remains aligned with your preferences over time.
If you prefer not to distribute items to individuals, you have the option to include your personal belongings along with the rest of your estate. Your executor will have the authority to sell them, and the resulting funds will become part of the remaining assets of your estate, to be distributed as specified in your Will.
Managing Personal Belongings During Estate Settlement
If you are involved in managing an estate, it is essential to assess the value of personal belongings since they are considered part of the estate for the purpose of Inheritance Tax. It is advisable to have items valued by professionals, particularly those worth £500 or more, to demonstrate the responsible handling of your duties as the executor or administrator. The valuation should reflect the fair market value at the time of the individual’s passing.
It is important to determine if the deceased individual has left behind a Letter of Wishes regarding any items or if they have already been designated for specific beneficiaries. In such cases, the items should be distributed according to the instructions provided. It is advisable for the executor or administrator to obtain a receipt from the beneficiary as a standard practice.
If personal possessions are not specifically mentioned, they can be sold, and the proceeds from the sale can be distributed according to the instructions in the deceased individual’s Will or in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy if no Will was left behind.