Getting things wrong, or missing a key detail while dividing tangible personal property (furniture, jewelry, art, etc.) can create resentments and riffs in families that never heal. Approaching the process by often imagining removing the, “I am in charge – Executor Hat” and opting for wearing the “Heir Hat” can help preserve family relationships.

So many wills, trust documents and articles talk in general terms about dividing things fairly, equally, or fairly but not necessarily equally, taking turns, etc., There is rarely guidance for the real world “how tos” needed to make all of that happen, so most fall to executors to decide, and how they do so can create resentments from the other heirs.

“The ‘Heir Hat’ concept can help the executor make good decisions, and help keep the family speaking years after the estate division has been completed.”

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