When many people are creating their estate plans, they are conscious of high-value assets. They know that these can cause estate disputes because they are so valuable. The heirs and beneficiaries may expect these assets to be divided evenly, and a dispute could start if they are not.
But the nice thing about high-value assets is that there’s usually a solution. Even if it’s a tangible asset that is simply worth a lot in the current market, that asset could be sold to a third party. The heirs and beneficiaries are likely just interested in the financial value anyway, and they do not care about owning the asset. They may be happy to sell it and divide the money, putting an end to the dispute.
Sentimental items are different
But the important thing to remember is that it’s not just these high-value assets that cause estate disputes. Sentimental items may not have much financial value, but they are a common source of such disputes between heirs.
The fact that these items aren’t worth much is part of the problem. Children may simply want specific items or assets because of the memories they associate with them. They remember eating from a certain set of dishes with their parents on Thanksgiving, for instance, or reading a certain set of books before bed.
Not only do these items have very little value, but selling them doesn’t even solve the dispute. The heirs don’t want to split up the small amount of money they would get from a collection of old books or a set of dishes; they want those actual assets because of the emotional link to their memories from when they were growing up.
What this means is that disputes over sentimental items can be very contentious. Those creating an estate plan should consider the options they have to plan ahead and stave off these disputes.