Sorting your stuff


AuctionWhen people think about estate fights, they often think that the heirs are fighting over large bank accounts, or country properties. More often than not, however, family members will fight longest and hardest over the stuff.

My grandfather passed away when I was 18. We had been very close, and when he died, I wanted something physical to remember him by. Thankfully, neither my father nor my uncle had any concern with me receiving the simple ring that he wore every day. I never wear it, but I see it every day and it reminds me of him.

For most people, what they truly want is some keepsake to remember their loved one by. Often, these items have little or even no monetary value; I have heard of fights over a $200 dining room set that was available at a local furniture store, and over china dolls in a multimillion dollar estate.

If you ask your family members now what they would most want, the answers might surprise you. Maybe it is something you rarely think about, but that holds such sentimental value for your child or sibling that it would be worth fighting over. If so, help everyone out and make that decision for them now: give it away while you are alive, or have a list right in your will so that there is no question about who is to receive what. The more you plan now, the less grief you will leave behind – and you just might save the relationships of those you leave behind, too.