Families often decide the best way to divide parents’ tangible personal property (furniture, accessories, art, jewelry, sentimental items) is to pick a date and time, then simply meet at the house to take turns choosing. Almost no one has experience doing it, and nearly everyone involved has a varying opinion of how it should be done. It is more often than not, a recipe for a family disaster.
There are many reasons gathering in person for this process is either impractical, or simply a bad idea:
1. Everyone processes loss differently, so the mood or attitude of one heir may be seen as disturbing or upsetting by another.
2. It is highly advised by most experts on the topic, not to have spouses or children of heirs involved, but when dividing in person, they may show up or be brought along anyhow, making things awkward, if not outright contentious.
“Usually no one has the experience to understand that meeting to divide the furniture, art, jewelry, etc. can be very emotionally and practically challenging on so many levels.”