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What To Do When You Inherit Family Heirlooms

Working through the passing of a loved one takes time and is usually fraught with sadness and distress. Emotions tend to run high and familial disagreements can arise when an estate is being liquidated.

The following steps can help you save time and money if you’ve been left potentially valuable antiques or heirlooms, as well as assist in avoiding disputes that can undermine your family bond forever.

Speak with the Estate Attorney

The sooner you apprise the attorney of the situation, the sooner they can get to work and help you and your family through the distribution process as efficiently as possible. Probably, they’ve handled matters like yours before and will save you arguments and upheaval down the road.

Schedule a Family Meeting (In-Person or Zoom)

It’s important that everyone involved gets on the same page as soon as possible and before any disagreement starts to enter the picture.

Explain that everyone at the meeting will have an opportunity to express their thoughts about the items left in the estate. Frequently, the siblings or other relatives will reveal they have a strong sentimental attachment to an item. In other situations, a family member may say that they were promised a specific item and expected that it would become theirs.

Work to keep everyone’s temper in check, and if you think the meeting will be too argumentative and emotional, a mediator or the attorney should be brought in to control the situation.

Do You Plan To Use the Item or Display It?

You may wish to keep certain items because of the memories and meaning attached to them, however, you must decide what you will do with the items. Will you use or display them?  With no place to put the heirlooms, many people rent a storage unit and find themselves paying a monthly fee to store the items. Often, it’s many years before they decide what to do with what they’ve inherited and may find that they’ve paid more in storage fees than what the items are worth.

The best strategy is to decide what you want to do with the items quickly, and if you have no plans to display or use them, connect with an antiques specialist that can determine their value. Armed with this information, you can make a well-educated and smart decision that makes sense for your unique situation.

Syl-Lee Antiques — NYC Antiques Buyer
Call us at (212) 366-9466 to schedule your in-home antique evaluation or contact us via email.