Estate disputes have many causes, ranging from a will appearing to be fake to heirs wondering if their parent even had the mental capacity to write a will at the end of their life.
There are usually solutions that can be found, but one of the most difficult situations is when sentimental items and family heirlooms are involved.
What do you do with items you can’t divide?
There are two reasons for the issues with sentimental items in an estate plan, and the first is that heirs may not care about the real value. A lot of items that get passed down through families have almost no market value. If you sold them, no one would want them. But those items matter to someone’s heirs because of their memories of family life, growing up and their parents. They may fight over them in a way that costs much more than they stand to gain.
The biggest problem, though, is that you can’t even divide these assets. With other types of property, the easiest solution when heirs can’t agree on who should get it is just to sell it and then split up the earnings from the sale. This would theoretically work with family heirlooms, but that really just equates to no one getting the item. There is no way to split up that value. In the end, one person gets it and another does not. You have to accept this reality, but it’s also why heirs will compete so fervently for those items.
What can you do if you’re in a family feud over estate items?
If you find yourself in a situation like this, be sure you know what legal options you have. Solutions exist, even when they’re hard to find. An attorney can help you figure out what steps to take next.