Make adjustments to each beneficiary share based on personal property they will receive from the estate

It is very likely that beneficiaries will want specific items out of the estate of the deceased even if it is not listed in the will. This can include everything from sentimental items such as an heirloom pocket watch to furnishings such as a sofa.

If you’ve followed the steps to this point, you have already come up with a process for dividing this type of personal property and communicated this plan with the beneficiaries in advance. Some items might already be in the possession of the beneficiaries as a result of having to de-clutter the home in advance of putting it on the market, for example. Be sure the value of these items is deducted from the individual beneficiary’s share of the estate. While beneficiaries are often very anxious to get their inheritance, it is vital that they understand that the executor role is a complex process and that you have a comprehensive plan in place as the executor – so that they will need to be patient as you complete your executor responsibilities.

As the personal property is distributed, keep a written running total of each beneficiary’s share and deduct the value of each item they take from the estate. You should total the sum often if you think a beneficiary might be approaching the entirety of the value of their share of the estate. The beneficiary will want to have warning he or she is approaching that limit. If this is the case, it is good to have a plan in place as the whether a beneficiary who exhausts his or her share of the estate is still allowed to participate in the distribution of personal property. If he or she is allowed, the value of each item should be paid to the estate so the money can be properly distributed to other beneficiaries.