The law firm answer…..it depends. Did mom leave written signed instructions? If she did, her personal property will be distributed according to her wishes. But if she did not let her wishes be known in a comprehensive estate plan, there could be dissention among the heirs.
If there are 5 daughters and they cannot agree on who gets what, the personal representative may have to decide what is an equitable distribution. Or worse, they may be compelled to sell it all and divide the proceeds equally, thereby leaving none of Mom’s heirlooms to her daughters. Surely not what Mom wanted and likely leaving the daughters bitter and not happy with each other.
We have seen adult children argue for months over who gets what from Mom’s house. Items that may seem completely insignificant can often bring out the strongest emotions after a death. Don’t let your “stuff” ruin the future relationship of your children.
Make your wishes known with a comprehensive estate plan prepared with a qualified attorney. We offer monthly complimentary interactive workshops, click here to view the list.
About the Author: Peggy Hoyt Peggy R. Hoyt practices in the areas of family wealth and legacy counselling, including trust and estate planning and administration, elder law, small business creation, succession and exit planning, real estate transactions and animal law.