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Why do sentimental items cause estate disputes?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Estate disputes can certainly happen over items that don’t have sentimental value, often because they have a lot of financial value. Adult children may find themselves in a dispute over what to do with their parents’ life insurance money, for example, because the sheer amount of money in the policy is going to be life-changing for those who inherit it.

But it’s also important to remember that items with sentimental value can also lead to disputes. They may not be worth much money, in this can actually make things more complicated.

Why the disputes happen

These disputes often happen because children are nostalgic or the items have sentimental value and remind them of their parents and their childhood. For example, two siblings may both assume that they are going to get the family Bible or their parents’ art collection. The dispute occurs because it’s impossible for them both to inherit the same specific item. If that item is not mentioned in the estate plan, it can be very hard for siblings to resolve this dispute in a satisfactory manner.

In fact, the lack of financial value can make this more difficult. If the item was just worth a lot of money, the siblings could sell it and split that money because they are only interested in the financial gain. But since they want the specific item that has that sentimental value, selling is not an option that would work for them.

All of this can make it rather complicated to resolve a dispute after a parent has passed away. Parents should consider this in advance. There are estate planning steps they can take to reduce the odds of a dispute and find solutions for their loved ones.