When most people think of trusts and wills, they think of written documents. And yes, these important estate planning tools mostly consist of a series of words. But in recent years, many people are including a new element in their wills: pictures. Having photos in a will can bring a greater level of precision to the document and ensure that there is no confusion when it comes to administering your estate.


When to Include Photos in a Will

If you decide to include pictures in your will, you’ll need to consider which items need photographs and which do not. Including photos of specific tangible items about which there might be some confusion can be a helpful strategy. For example, if you own many pieces of valuable jewelry, it might become confusing if you simply describe each piece in your will. Perhaps several bracelets look similar to each other, and a photo can help the executor easily distinguish between them in a way that mere words could not. Even if you decide to include photos, though, you won’t need to do so for every item. Most of your assets will either be intangible, such as stocks or savings accounts, or self-explanatory, such as a house or a car. In these cases, including photos would be either impossible or unnecessary.


How to Include Photos in a Will

If you decide to include photos in your will, you’ll want to make sure the quality of the images is as high as possible. You may consider hiring a professional photographer, but if you decide to take the pictures yourself, be sure to use a high-quality camera and make sure the picture is well lit. You’ll also want to take several pictures of each item, shooting them from different angles. After you’ve taken the pictures, be sure to save them to an alternative source and carefully label and classify them, so there is no confusion as to which photos correspond to which assets. You may also want to consider watermarking your image or obtaining a certificate of authentication to ensure the photo’s authenticity. One last important consideration has to do with the question of digitally altering the image. While it may be tempting to use filters or other image-changing technologies, this could complicate legal claims as to the photo’s legitimacy. Cropping the image to fit the photographic frame, however, is acceptable.


Contact Deliberato Law Center

If you have any questions about including photos in your will—or about any other aspect of your estate plan—the experienced attorneys at Deliberato Law Center are here to help. Fill out the form below or give us a call at (216) 341-3413 and start protecting your future today.