When a loved one passes away, there are many time-consuming and often complicated tasks that must be done, particularly if you are the executor of the estate. One of the most difficult things is determining how to distribute items of sentimental value.
It’s even more difficult to do this while grieving as we are often reminiscent and nostalgic of the days our loved one was with us. Sometimes people end up fighting over certain items, especially those with great sentimental value.
The following tips, courtesy of www.Executor.org, can help you avoid any potential squabbles:
Talk to Beneficiaries Early
Getting everyone together to discuss which items they would like can be quite helpful. Sometimes everything can be distributed with no conflict at all. Some people may prefer certain items over others. You can handle this by individual emails to each beneficiary and have them rank the items in order of preference so you can compare and see if you may have challenges in this issue or not. Be thoughtful about items that carry great sentimental and economic value. Fair distribution is key for an executor.
Consider a Family Auction
It may be a good idea to have the assets valued beforehand by a third party and then put all the beneficiaries’ name in a hat and draw names one by one, much like a draft. Each person has the chance to pick. Whatever the value of each item selected comes out of that beneficiaries’ share of the estate.
Bring in Help
If tensions between beneficiaries is rising or already high, you may need to consider getting a disinterested third-party involved. Sometimes it helps to bring in the estate attorney because they are an objective party who is looking out for what is best for all beneficiaries. Another option is an outside company such as FairSplit, which specializes in helping executors fairly split assets.
Good communication is key. Keeping people informed and following these tips can help simplify the sometimes tricky process of distributing assets, particularly ones of sentimental value. Just be sure to give beneficiaries their say, stay objective and reach out for help when needed.