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Sentimental value may cause your heirs to fight over possessions

When you think of your heirs fighting over your estate in Texas—something it is always best to avoid—you probably assume they’ll be fighting over bank accounts, retirement funds or valuable real estate. Essentially, it seems they’d fight over the things with the most monetary value to them. However, the reality is that sentimental value can sometimes play a huge role, making things without a lot of actual value into the focal points for these arguments.

Items that family members may fight over could include:

– Earrings- A necklace- A suit- A watch- A journal

Clearly, all of these things could simply be purchased without spending too much money, at least in most cases. A locket may be only worth $100, a watch could cost $500 or $1,000. Heirs who stand to get tens of thousands of dollars—or more—do not lack the financial means to buy whatever they desire.

But that personal connection makes all the difference. A necklace may only be worth $200, but, if it’s a necklace that a mother wore almost every day and it’s the thing her children remember very clearly, they may want it as a solid way to keep those memories. A watch may be worth almost nothing, but, if it’s a watch that was handed down from a great-grandfather to every man in the family, it has more value to a son than even a vastly more expensive one that could be purchased today.

When doing estate planning, be sure you take into account sentimental value and plan accordingly to avoid creating any rifts or arguments.

Source: New York Times, “When Heirs Fight Over Assets With Sentimental Value,” PAUL SULLIVAN, accessed Oct. 30, 2015