Sentimental items have a subjective value

When dividing an estate, it is often easiest for children to simply auction off minor assets and possessions that they do not need and that no one really wants. They can then split the money up evenly and ensure that everyone actually gets the same value out of those assets.

However, one major issue is that the true "value" of an item cannot always be determined at auction or by an appraiser. If the object in question has some sentimental value to any member of the family, then the value of that item could be far above the price it would ever fetch on the open market. Additionally, heirs may be hesitant to sell sentimental items, making it impossible to divide that value between multiple children.

For instance, perhaps the parents had a set of dishes that they used at Christmas every year. They originally purchased these dishes second-hand, so they were not even worth much at the time of purchase. They're worth even less now. They're not collectibles and the whole set may bring in $100 at most.

However, the heirs have a lot of warm childhood memories of eating holiday meals off of those dishes. They're worth far more than $100, to them, and all the children may want them even more than they want other high-value assets. Those memories change the way they approach the set, making it hard to divide and increasing the odds of arguments and disputes.

Are you facing these types of complications while dividing an estate? A dispute can become a long, complex process, so you need to make sure you know all of your rights.

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