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2 problems sentimental items can cause during probate

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Probate disputes happen for many reasons, such as unequal bequests or questions over the validity of an estate plan. Often, it is the high-value assets that cause problems. Adult children argue about how to split up their parents’ life savings or what to do with the family home.

But it’s important for those who are making an estate plan to remember that sentimental value is also incredibly powerful. Items that have a lot of sentimental value may not have much financial value, but they can still lead to estate disputes. Here are two problems that they cause.

Multiple people cannot own the same item

Often, the issue with an item that has sentimental value is that it is one of a kind. A family Bible. A grandmother’s necklace. A father’s book collection. There’s no way for people to split these things up because there is only one asset, and, at the end of the day, only one person can own it.

Other assets can sometimes be divided between multiple people, such as when beneficiaries split a bank account in half. But this easy solution may be completely impossible if sentimental value is the root cause of the dispute.

The items can’t be sold

The second problem is that the items often aren’t worth much if they’re sold. When the heirs disagree over high-value items, an easy solution is to sell the item and split the money between both people. But if the item has only sentimental value, there may be almost no money to divide. Plus, selling that specific item essentially just means that no one gets it, so none of the heirs would be happy with the solution – even though it works so well in other situations.

When these types of estate disputes occur, it’s important for all involved to understand what legal steps to take.



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