When someone passes away in New Jersey or elsewhere, surviving family members are often left with collections of stamps, furniture and stacks of old magazines that have accumulated over many years. Collectibles can be difficult to sort through for heirs in terms of monetary and sentimental value. However, modern technology can help with inventorying and determining the value of one's inheritance. Nevertheless, deciding which family members receive what is an ongoing problem.
When faced with this problem, the initial task is to create an inventory of items. Taking pictures, getting dimensions and documenting everything are wise first steps. It is important to gather all of the information and centralize it in a single place. Free software and applications enable one to easily complete this task, which can even be accomplished with a smartphone.
Keeping a backup file in a separate place ensures the information will always be available. Once the inventory is created, it can be distributed among the heirs. The heirs should mark an "X" next to the items they are interested in. Possessions with no interest expressed can be sold or donated.
This may be a peaceful and practical solution for New Jersey heirs. Some families have used this method as a way to deal with assets. This system also helps families determine if an item is valuable and makes it easier to assess worth. Once the value of items is determined and all heirs decide what they want, selling or donating the rest may make sense. Ultimately, however, those that make a concerted effort to plan their estate may make it easier for heirs once the time comes to divide up the possessions accumulated.
Source: Huffington Post, "How to divide an inheritance when a relative dies," Mitch Lipka, April 25, 2012