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Sentimental items may lead to estate disputes 

In some cases, it may be fairly easy for heirs to identify how to split up financial assets. For instance, maybe you and your siblings were given a will by your parents. It splits all of their finances up equally, so you each get the same portion.

But that doesn’t mean that problems can’t arise. One of the biggest issues that you may run into involves sentimental items. These are often a cause of estate disputes because it may be impossible for heirs to come to a solution that satisfies everyone.

Why is compromise so difficult?

The issue is that sentimental value isn’t connected to financial value. For instance, if two heirs wanted the same asset simply because it was worth a lot of money, they could sell that asset and split up the earnings. 

But if you and your siblings all want the same book collection, piece of artwork, set of family dishes or some other item that has sentimental value, that doesn’t work. For one thing, the item may not be worth much money, so selling it to divide the funds would be pointless. 

On top of that, the sentimental value is tied to that specific item. There may be more copies in existence, but it’s not as simple as everyone needing or wanting to have their own copy. They want to have the exact item that they remember from childhood and that they link emotionally to their parents.

All of these issues can make dividing up sentimental items very complicated, and disputes are likely. If you find yourself involved in this type of situation, you need to know what legal steps to take.

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