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Family heirlooms can cause estate disputes

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Estate Planning |

A lot of estate disputes revolve around money. For instance, perhaps wealthy parents gave $1 million to one child and $10,000 to another. The child who got less feels slighted and says that the other must have manipulated their parents into setting up the estate plan that way. It’s all about trying to even out the financial situation.

However, there are other types of estate disputes that are, in some ways, even more difficult to resolve. This may have to do with family heirlooms and items that have sentimental value. Common examples of these items include things like jewelry, watches, recipes, firearms, artwork and even furniture. These can also be in the estate plan as parents divide their physical assets.

Why are they harder?

The reason that these disputes are a bit harder to handle is that the family heirlooms only have sentimental value and probably don’t have much real value.

After all, if two people just want money or an expensive asset that they plan to sell, there’s a compromise where things are simply split more evenly. You can sell the house and divide the money between two siblings, for instance.

But if the value is sentimental, then you cannot sell the item and split the value. Selling it would mean that neither heir got it, and they would both be angry. This means that compromise becomes hard, and siblings can become embattled in disputes that have no chance of being resolved in a way that makes both people happy.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, or if you’re trying to do your estate planning to avoid it, take the time to carefully consider your legal options.