Sentimental Items: Settling an Estate Life
After cremation services in Phoenix, AZ, you will have to settle the estate of your loved one. In a perfect world, your loved one will have, while they were still living, distributed most of the sentimental items to the family members who wanted them. If your loved one did this, count yourself fortunate.
But most of the time, sentimental items are not distributed in life, so they become part of the estate after loved ones die. If your loved one’s will does not specify – and it likely does not – how sentimental items should be distributed to beneficiaries named in the will, then they will become your responsibility to distribute.
Sentimental items pose problems because they have memories associated with them. You will find that more than one family member may want the same sentimental item because it reminds them of your loved one.
In fact, some of the family discord that occurs after a loved one dies is because of sentimental items. There will be assertions that the loved one promised the item to someone or that someone should get it because they gave it to the loved one or, even, because they are the oldest and deserve it.
You will have to navigate sentimental items carefully. Here are some tips.
First, talk with all the beneficiaries about the sentimental items and have them rank, in order, which ones are most important to them. Do not include sentimental items that have economic value (sports card collections, jewelry, stamp collections, coin collections, etc.).
These are considered assets of the estate and you are required to distribute the assets of the estate in the manner your loved one wanted. Therefore, these valuable sentimental items will need to be appraised.
If only one person wants these sentimental items that have a monetary value, then they will forfeit financial assets they are entitled to in order to make sure that the other beneficiaries get their share of what the sentimental asset is worth. You should make that clear to everyone from the beginning.
If there are sentimental items with no economic value that several beneficiaries want, you might consider having a family lottery. Everyone will write their name on a piece of paper and put it in a basket.
Once that is done, the names will be drawn, and the person can choose the sentimental item they want. You can repeat this process until all the sentimental items have been distributed.
If some of the sentimental items in the estate are included in your loved one’s will, then you need to let the beneficiaries know that up front. That means these sentimental items will not be given to anyone except the person your loved one named.
If the beneficiaries simply cannot agree to any of the methods described above for distributing sentimental items in the estate, then it might be wise to bring in someone who is objective and who does not have any vested interest in the estate (you may be the executor and a beneficiary) to handle the distribution.
Being the executor of an estate is never the easiest of tasks, but sentimental items can make it much more complicated. These tips should help you get through what may be the roughest part of settling your loved one’s estate because sentimental items involve close family members and strong emotions.