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Addressing family heirlooms in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning can be very complicated, and it’s important to remember that it’s about more than just passing on financial assets. In fact, dividing financial assets may be much easier than dividing family heirlooms and items with sentimental value.

The problem with these items is that you can’t sell them and divide the money that you earn if there is a dispute over who should get that item. Multiple people want one specific Item and there is no way to compromise, so sentimental items often lead to disputes. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this plan.

Ask your heirs what they want

One of the best things to do is to have a family meeting and ask people what they want. It may turn out that they want items you’ve never expected or that there are conflicts about items that you didn’t know anyone was interested in. Having a family meeting gives you a chance to resolve some of these disputes in advance.

Think about the reason for that sentimental value

During the meeting, it may be wise to talk about why people put value on certain items. Do they represent a certain memory or a chapter in the family’s life? Understanding why people have these connections can often help the family come up with a solution that benefits everyone.

Remember that values may be different from your own

Your heirs may not value the same items that you do. For example, say you have an old sailboat that you love, but you haven’t actually gone sailing for years and it’s been in storage. You feel like the boat should be in the family forever, but none of your heirs are interested in sailing or live near a significant body of water. This is just one example, of course, but it shows why it’s important to have these discussions with family members.

As you work through the process, be sure you also carefully think about your legal options.

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