Transferring Nontitled Personal Property
the transfer of nontitled personal property, often creates more challenges among family members than the transfer of titled property. It’s not that the personal belongings have any financial value but items often have sentimental or historical value both for the giver and the receiver. People are usually familiar with the need to make decisions on the distribution of a home or savings accounts when they die. In many cases, nontitled property is not included in the decision making process.
Often people are surprised that nontitled personal property can create problems among family members than the transfer of titled property. Why? The sentimental value may be more important than the financial or dollar value. Dividing items with sentimental value fairly to all parties can be very difficult.
It is important to understand the sensitivity of the issue. Suggestions on ways to start the conversation might be to ask the “what ifs”. For example you could ask if your parent had given any thought to what would happen to the things in the house if they moved. What special concerns or special wishes would they have?
What is Nontitled Personal Property
It’s helpful to identify the meaning of personal possessions. Grandpa’s journal could be a dust collector to a grandchild but a treasure of family history to the son or daughter who is all grown up. Other personal property which are considered nontitled property include items such as photographs, jewelry, quilts, stamp, and coin collections and other family heirlooms,
There is a Florida statute that governs the transfer of property after death. If you own property at the time of your death and have not made a will. Florida law dictates how your titled and nontitled property will be distributed. Florida statute 732.515 contains a provision allowing a person to refer in his or her will to a separate listing that disposes of personal property. The list cannot be used to distribute cash, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, other intangible personal property or real estate.
The separate listing should be kept with the will so the personal representative is able to distribute items properly. The separate listing can be changed as new possessions are acquired. The list should be dated and signed each time a change is made. Or a new list can be made each time changes occur. The list can be in handwriting of the owner or signed by the owner.
Transferring personal property can be a time to celebrate a person’s life, share memories, stories, continue traditions and family history. Sharing stories about special objects helps family members understand their past, discover another aspect of their family and appreciate the real accomplishments of their ancestors.
Adapted with permission from Julie B. England, UF/IFAS Extension Agent.