Broadway Bank Wealth Management can help your family focus on healing

By Julie Hardaway, SVP, Director of Wealth Services at Broadway Bank

My grandmother was one of 12 siblings. Her family had one heirloom, a clock. The clock was passed around the family without conflict over many years, but sadly, this is not always the norm. Estate planning helps ensure that your exact wishes are fulfilled. It also gives clear direction on personal property to mitigate unnecessary conflict among loved ones. 

While personal property may not have much inherent value, it may be priceless due to sentimental value. Most people do not think their family members or beneficiaries will battle over the division of personal property, and so they often fail to properly address the matter. So, what can you do to ease this process and ensure your wishes are fulfilled? Here are seven key questions to get you thinking about this issue. 

1. Have you reviewed your estate plan and the provisions that specifically address personal property? Wills and trusts often define what “personal property” is, and that definition may need to be modified for your situation.  

2. Does your estate plan contain a statement that you may leave a handwritten memorandum designating certain individuals to receive specified personal property? Have you written such a memorandum? I have administered estates and trusts for many years and have seen very few personal property memorandums. If you know of items that you would like to leave to certain people, you should write a memorandum to the executor of your estate. It should be wholly in your handwriting and signed by you. You could even discuss with your family members what items they would like to have. Such a discussion would give you the opportunity to settle any conflicts should more than one family member want the same item. 

3. Does your estate plan address whether your estate will pay the cost of shipping items to beneficiaries? Shipping costs can be an unpleasant surprise, especially for furniture items. Think about where your family members live and any inequality that shipping costs may create, and whether the extra expense of shipping should be deducted from their share of financial assets or paid by them. 

4. How will conflicts between family members or beneficiaries be settled? You may decide that your executor or trustee has the final decision-making authority in conflicts or that certain items be can be sold and the proceeds split. No matter what you decide, your estate plan should address these situations.

5. In the event that one family member wants more items than others, do you want personal property valued and distributions to be equalized with cash?  Determine if items should be sold in an estate sale, auction or donated to charity.

6. Are you currently married and have children from a prior marriage? You should pay special attention to provisions in your estate plan that relate to personal property. If personal property provisions are left unaddressed, it is very possible that your surviving spouse may end up with your children’s heirlooms. This might cause a rift between your children and your surviving spouse. You should not assume that those items will make their way back to your children at your death or upon the death of your surviving spouse. 

7. Have you spoken to your family or potential beneficiaries about your estate plan? If appropriate, you should talk with your family members or beneficiaries about the issue of personal property and your estate plan. The best estate plans are the ones that do not contain surprises. Make decisions now to ensure that the distribution of personal property is as painless as you wish it to be.

Carrying out a loved one’s wishes can be a complex and challenging process for families while they grieve.  Planning ahead can help your family focus on healing and celebrating a life. Each estate is unique and some have assets that require special oversight like rural land, mineral rights or personal collections. At Broadway Bank Wealth Management, our team of highly knowledgeable and experienced advisors can act as executor, trustee or agent for your estate. We provide guidance and recommendations to ensure the administration of your estate is efficient and effective.  

For 80 years, Broadway Bank has been an integral part of South Central Texas, evolving into one of the largest independently owned banks in Texas with more than $4.6 billion in assets and $2.6 billion in Wealth Management assets. Broadway Bank offers a full range of financial services including personal, private, business,  mortgage banking and wealth management. Broadway Bank is committed to enhancing the banking experience through leading edge technology. With financial centers across San Antonio, Austin and the Hill Country, Broadway Bank delivers modern banking, locally sourced and personally delivered. 

Julie Hardaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Hardaway is the SVP, Director of Wealth Services for Broadway Bank Wealth Management. She provides guidance to Broadway clients regarding estate planning, and trust and estate administration. In addition, she leads the specialty services groups of Estate Settlement, Real Estate and Oil & Gas. Prior to joining Broadway in 2005, she served as the Staff Attorney for Bexar County Probate Court No. 1. She is a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. She earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, Texas, and was licensed to practice law in Texas in 1996. Julie was elected to the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation in 2019. If you would like to learn more about our Wealth Management services, contact Julie Hardaway at or visit