If the last will and testament of a deceased person does not divide up the assets, then this task is left up to the beneficiaries. Unfortunately, this can create huge rifts among family members even in the best of families. Imagine how much worse it can be in a family that is already divided in how they interact with each other.
The intricacies of dividing the assets among the beneficiaries become more complicated when the estate is not properly assessed for value. If an equitable division is desired, then the value of each item should be determined in order to more fairly distribute the property. Alternatively, the grantor can simply decide to bequeath specific tangible items to each beneficiary along with a percentage of the intangible assets.
Dividing the Assets: Percentages
Assets can be divided according to the wishes of the grantor including an equitable distribution or a non-equitable distribution to the beneficiaries. The latter is less time consuming although it often creates a greater number of problems for those who inherit the estate assets.
However, it is often more common for the grantor to divide the assets up equally among the beneficiaries. In this case, he might simply state that each beneficiary is to inherit a certain percentage of the property to be distributed. For example, in a scenario with four beneficiaries, the grantor can simply state that each beneficiary is to receive 25% of the estate.
Dividing the Assets in the Will: Clarity
It is important to include general terminology in the last will and testament when describing the assets so that no single item is inadvertently omitted. For example, instead of naming each savings account, it might be more prudent to include the names of the banks where the savings accounts are held. In this way, no specific accounts are left out of the will accidentally.
Clarity can only be achieved with the use of proper terminology and careful wording. When specific bequests to beneficiaries are made, it is important to list each of the items that pertain to that bequest. For example, if a sailboat is given to a nephew, the grantor should list everything that goes along with the bequest. This might include such items as a trailer, hitch, spare sails, and items that are kept onboard. If these items are not listed, another heir could argue that they are not included in the bequest since only the sailboat is mentioned.
How are Assets Divided if not Listed in the Will
Normally a last will and testament has what is known as a “residual clause.” This is a final clause in the will whose purpose is to catch any other assets that have not previously been listed, either on purpose or inadvertently. It would be an extremely poorly drafted will that did not have such a clause.
What Are Tangible Assets?
Tangible assets are those that are visible. They have a physical presence to go along with their value. Tangible property includes such items as real estate, buildings, cares, boats, furniture, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, books, and more.
What Are Intangible Assets?
Intangible assets are those that are not readily visible. They include such items as insurance, bonds, bank accounts, and mutual funds. Don’t forget to divide up intangible property in a will.