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Dividing tangible items in an estate

One challenge that families in Florida may face after the death of a loved one is dividing tangible items within an estate. These are items that are often unique and may not be easily sold. Some may only have sentimental value, such as photo albums. Many families deal with this by taking turns selecting items, but another family had a unique solution.

Two siblings, the executors, made a list of 742 items. This included their mother's car, a piano, games, cutlery, rugs and more. The list was sent to the other siblings, who all circled the items they wanted. Any unwanted items were set aside to be sold. The siblings then received a list of items they wanted that another sibling did as well. They were all given 500 imaginary poker chips to bargain with, and they were allowed to discuss with one another what they really wanted. In some cases, siblings bid for similar items but only wanted one.

Once the bids were in and everyone got their items, the executors then added up the monetary value to make sure everything was fair. The piano, car and rugs were the most valuable, so those recipients paid money to the others. All felt the process was fair and brought them closer together.

The process of estate administration can be a complex one, and settling an estate does not always proceed with as little conflict as this one did. If a will does not specify how some assets should be distributed, family members may disagree on how to divide them. An attorney may be able to help an individual with probate and estate settlement. In addition to locating assets and distributing them to beneficiaries, an executor must file taxes, notify creditors and complete a number of documents.

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