The Blockade

Obstacles are everywhere in life:

  • The teenager left a mound of clothes to step over
  • You’re stuck in morning traffic
  • Everyone’s in the kitchen at the same time
  • You reach the grocery checkout and there’s long lines

Think about how much time is spent waiting to either go around or jump over obstacles and you’ll see it’s an astounding amount of time we can never regain.

In one aspect of life, I see obstacles where they should not be.  In my estates, I work closely with boomer children to guide them in making solid decisions regarding their parents’ possessions:

  • what should be sold
  • how it should be sold
  • how to maximize the sale
  • options and resources

My work also places me in the nitty-gritty of “family affairs”, many situations that are not for the faint of heart.  In the last few years, I am seeing siblings doing things against each other more than ever before, and I call it The Blockade.

A good example of The Blockade is when one sibling moves in with a parent, either to help with their needs or because the sibling is financially strapped and needs a place to live.  Often, it is both.  This sibling is usually helpful with the parent and keeps the home clean, helps cook, cares for mom, etc.  The problem takes place after mom is placed in another residence like assisted living or passes away.  Getting that sibling to move out of the family home can take an act of God.  Literally.

I see these children (not all, but many of them) not want to budge and often force the hand of the executor.  Sometimes they feel justified because they did so much work and offered care for the parent.  I understand that.  However the entitlement mentality does not belong here at this place and time, because mom’s will often stipulates the home is to be sold and possessions divided.

Rarely is this sibling the executor or legal decision maker.  Since I work with the legal decision maker, I get a front row seat to this event.  Sad to watch!  The sibling living in the home will use it as a storage facility, settling in for the long run and making life very hard on the other siblings and especially the executor.  Resentment grows; you can figure out the remainder of the story.

I have seen these refusing-to-budge siblings throw fits, threaten, etc.  The bottom line is if the legal documents are prepared ahead of time and the instructions are clear that the home is to be sold and divided among the heirs, that is what must be carried out.

It is not okay to be The Blockade.  I can see both sides and I understand the emotional ties to a home and possessions can be very strong.  But nothing ever stays the same.  Everything transitions to some other place.  Life is ever-changing.  Sometimes things cannot remain the same, even if we want them to.

This is about the parent’s wishes and fulfilling them for ALL involved!

I recently had the pleasure of working with an executor who had to deal with this situation.  He did not want to hurt his sibling.  He had already been incredibly patient.  His situation was fairly simple as the will specified what had to be done.  I encouraged him to:

  1. Document correspondence to that sibling, including emails and certified letters, stressing mom’s will be followed.
  2. Offer the sibling a fair amount of time to vacate and give a date when they will need to be moved out to a new home.  (This sibling had been dragging their feet for a year now.)  They might say they have no money and no place to live, but they have to put forth effort and do what is legally and morally right.  If they are in ill-health, try to help them with local resources.
  3. Enlist the advice of an attorney if you cannot resolve this issue on your own.  No one wants to do this, but in some cases, you may have to meet one to find out the best course of action because of all the problems arising from The Blockade.  Perhaps it can be resolved peacefully, which is optimal for everyone.
  4. Hire a realtor.
  5. Be present, or have a representative present, when they do move out.  In this case, items were disappearing daily which is certainly not fair to the other siblings.  Have the locks changed immediately after the sibling leaves.
  6. Hire an estate sale professional immediately after they have moved out to sell the contents of the home.  www.ASELonline.com
  7. Everyone move forward with their lives.  Try your best to keep the peace.

Life is hard enough without added obstacles.  Do your best to never become one.  If you know someone who is currently The Blockade, talk to them about how their actions are impacting others.  The goal is to be part of the resolution, not part of the problem.

©2016 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at julie@theestatelady.com.

 

10 Estate Behavior Commands

With great reverence for God’s 10 commandments, here are the basic rules which should be followed in any and every estate situation.  Often, we aren’t thinking clearly in the middle of the estate settlement and distribution process.

While there are no laws that pertain to human behavior when handling an estate and the distribution of property, these commandments should be “etched in stone” to remind us how we should behave.

  1. Thou shalt not worship material possessions.  They can be a monkey on your back and, ultimately, you can’t take them with you.
  2. Greed and the love of possessions can be false idols which can, and often do, ruin families.
  3. Don’t forget to take Sabbath for yourself.  We all need time and space to breathe and reflect.
  4. Honor your loved one that just passed away.  Take actions that would respect them and make them proud.
  5. Thou shalt not kill thy family relationships by destroying your chance to find peaceful resolutions.  Mend your fences.
  6. Do not cheat anyone, including yourself, in the estate distribution process.
  7. Thou shalt not steal anything, even if you think no one is watching.  Someone is always watching.
  8. Thou shalt not throw thy sibling(s) under the bus.  What goes around often comes around.
  9. Thou shalt not covet anything a sibling gets.  It’s not worth it; let it go.
  10. Stay true to who you are and walk as straight a path as possible.  Not only is immediate family watching, but your children and grandchildren as well.  Set an excellent example.

©2016 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Fighting Over the Same Heirloom

Problem: Two of my siblings are fighting over the same heirloom.  How do you divide and keep it fair?

SOLUTION:  When two or more are arguing over the same item(s), you have a few options.  Beware, not all options will meet with approval.  Begin by getting a personal property appraisal on the items that the heirs desire, including the items that are the subject of the fighting.  This objective, third-party person will assign values that are fair, since they have no interest in the items.

Try to keep everything as equitable as possible to keep the peace!  This also depends on what the will/trust specifies.  If Sue gets a $5,000 item and Barbara gets a $200 item, that is not equitable.  Arrangements must be made, whether in cash assets or other items, to make up for that $4,800 deficit.

  • One sibling can offer to buy the item from the others and take it out of their inheritance, if there is one.  The price would be based on the appraised value.
  • If this item has significantly more value than other items in the estate, then that one choice will have to suffice until others get their pick of items and arrive at the approximate value.
  • If two people want a china set or silver flatware service, can it be divided?  Sure, but know that from the perspective of an estate expert, it is not advisable.  If this set were to be sold one day, it would be worth more to a collector/buyer if the set were intact and complete.
  • One heir simply “turns the other cheek” and forfeits to the other.
  • The two can write up an agreement and share the item, if it is practical to share.  However, this only postpones that inevitable decision later in life.  When the siblings die, the buck has been passed to their children to contend with the same issue.
  • If no one can agree and no one is willing to give in, the executor should consider selling the item through an appropriate selling venue and split the profits between all the heirs.  Yes, the siblings will be upset, but that is more acceptable than resenting each other for the rest of their lives.  If they remain in a tug-of-war, no solution provided is going to work.
  • What would mom or dad want?  Would they approve of this tension?  In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO.  They would be disappointed.  They trusted you to make decisions that they probably should have made when they were alive, but for whatever reason, they didn’t.  You can’t go back; you can only go forward.  Go forward, knowing what your parents would have wanted, and be fair to each other.
  • If nothing else works, you could always flip a coin and let the odds decide for you.

Realize that these situations can be highly charged with tension and emotion.  Everyone is not going to be happy 100% of the time.  There are very few instances where everything comes out flawless.  Spare the relationships by keeping the peace.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

The Roses

SAMSUNGRemember when we were little kids and our eyes went directly to the big, brightly colored, sugar-icing roses on our birthday cakes?  Everyone fought over those colorful, sugary roses that contained enough fuel to shoot us to the moon and back, or at least until midnight when the sugar buzz finally wore off and we crashed wherever we landed.  We were probably 5 or 6 years old, but already we had learned a lesson that would follow us throughout our lives.

The voice in our heads beckoned us to eat as much as possible including all those coveted roses.  After all, “it’s my cake, my birthday!  Why shouldn’t I have it all to myself?”

Mother’s quiet, yet serious tone forced me to share, and share equally among the other children at my party.  “You have to be fair to everyone,” she would say.

But that just isn’t fair to me, I thought to myself.  It’s my cake!  I should have all of the slices of cake with the roses on them.  (The roses were, and still are, my favorite.)

So it is with much of life.  We all want the “roses” in life; that includes our loved one’s estates.  You’ve had your eye on that antique grandfather clock, or mom’s diamond ring, or dad’s fishing lure collection for years.  You believe you should have them, or perhaps they were promised to you long ago, so you just assume they will be yours one day.  Then that “one day” comes and your siblings claim the same thing, so the trouble begins.  Indeed, every rose has its thorn.

Until items are gifted to you in person prior to infirmity or death, or until there is a written plan for those heirlooms upon a loved one’s passing, you are entitled to nothing unless it is given to you.  Even if you don’t end up with your beloved “rose,” remember that while we would like to have the majority of the cake, it’s good and appropriate to share as equally as possible, even if you feel it shouldn’t be that way.

I have seen with my own eyes good and poor behavior when dividing estates.  Those who lead with kindness and care for others end up faring the rocky experience pretty well.  Others will watch how you react, respond, and behave.  Much to my surprise, they will usually follow suit, especially if the plan is laid out before them.

Make a pact that there will be no fighting.  “Roses” are great, but peace is even better!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

 

Seven Attorneys for Seven Siblings

Consulting on an unusual estate recently, I was informed there were 7 beneficiaries, 4 of which were also co-executors.  Can you imagine that many co-executors?  What a nightmare!  This estate also had personal property, which the family felt to be very valuable, but it wasn’t.  There was a bunch of land to be divided, or sold and divided among the children.

Naturally, when you have that many cooks in the kitchen, everyone has different thoughts and opinions.  This is why co-executors is not necessarily a good choice.  In my opinion, estate settlement is much harder when you hand decisions to people who can’t come to a conclusion and end up fighting, or potentially going broke doing so.  Some wanted the land intact; others wanted it subdivided.  You can see where this story is going and it isn’t good.

The siblings had indeed reached an impasse.  One long distance heir, who had little to do with mom while she was alive, was the first to get an attorney involved, then everyone else followed suit.  It just gets messier from there.

I have been doing this for a very long time; I hope you don’t think I’m crazy when I share with you that people and their behaviors are getting worse.  Their behavior is often out of control, along with other emotions, sometimes even getting physical.  It makes me wonder.

What on earth could be so grand that it’s worth destroying themselves, as well as other relatives and relationships?  Don’t these people know they are going to have to carry the burden of their decisions for the remainder of their lives?

Don’t get me wrong.

I’d love to have a slice of land or the proceeds from it.

Who wouldn’t?

But not at this cost.

It just isn’t worth it!

The attorneys will do their jobs well, and whatever inheritance there is will dwindle with legal fees.

Interesting observation:  While the inheritance is decreasing, the emotions and angst will only increase and be prolonged, sometimes for the rest of the lifetime, long after the estate has been settled.

Is there anyone to blame in this scenario?  Fingers can be pointed all day long.  In the end, it comes down to the original decision maker who did not specify what should happen to the property and named so many co-executors.  Big mistake which caused even more strife for those left behind.

I ask you plainly … Is it really worth it?

I couldn’t possibly make this stuff up!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Is There a Pot of Gold at the End of YOUR Rainbow?

Most people reading this might be quick to respond with an emphatic “No.”  However, I beg to differ.  I suggest we give this a little thought before we jump to that conclusion.  Not all of us have the luck of the Irish, win the lottery, or find a treasure trove of buried gold coins, as in The Count of Monte Cristo.  But according to a client of mine who is 101 years young, we have much more than that.

Ask Herb if he is blessed and he will say with the vigor of a 20 year old,

“My goodness, yes I am!  Just look at me; I am vertical and that means it’s a good day.  I have air in my lungs and the sun on my face; I’m happy because I know where I’m going after this place.”

What an inspiration!

Ask him what “success” means after living 101 years and he’ll simply say,

“Success is faithfulness.  Faithfulness to your God, faithfulness to yourself and to your loved ones.  It’s being faithful to your business and anything else you touch.  In the end, money doesn’t matter much because you can’t take it with you.  Success is making the most of what you have and using it to help others.  Whether you have a lot or a little, you just live in such a way as to make a difference.  You never know whose life you are going to touch.”

There you have it.  I was officially given an attitude adjustment while sitting there with Herb, and now I’m passing it along to you.  It’s easy to get down or stuck, especially if you listen to the news and see what’s happening to the world around us.  How about listening to your heart for a change?  Try volunteering at a shelter and see how some really live, or help homeless animals, or kids who are troubled, etc.  Do something to make a difference, like Herb suggested.

Every day, I see people wrapped up in personal possessions: furniture, crystal, china, silver.  Every day I see people fight over these things that they can’t take with them either.  And sadly, every day I see people fight so viciously that they never speak to siblings again.

For what?  For nothing!

Because in the end, they live with regret, and regret is a thief.  A thief of your time, energy, thoughts, and your spirit.  It just isn’t worth it.

Herb is right.  In the end, none of this matters, except good deeds and the knowledge that you have lived each day in such a way that made a difference.  That is something I believe we take with us always.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Lessons Learned as an Expert in “Things”

Happy New Year!

As an expert in personal property, my days are filled with visiting estates, consulting with my clients, and ascertaining what has value versus what does not.  I help boomer children make sound decisions after mom and dad have passed on, and work closely with seniors, helping them make a plan for their heirlooms and understanding their worth.  My world revolves around many beautiful things and what they may be worth; then sadly, I watch people fight over those things after a loved one dies.

Having met with thousands of individuals in my career, I can safely say I have learned from each and every one of them.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

1We exit this world the way we enter it, owning nothing but a beautiful spirit that houses love and memories earned over a lifetime.  You can’t take anything with you, so why fight over things.

2Things do bring instant gratification, but not long-lasting happiness.  So we keep buying more things to keep feeling good.  Too many of us fill our lives with things to ease unresolved pain and issues.  As we continue to go out and go into debt buying ourselves the latest electronic or gadget, we are still left unfulfilled and discontented.  We buy to feel good.  We buy because we deserve it.  We buy because we are depressed.  But in the long run, it ends up in the hands of family or a professional, such as myself, to sell it.

3It‘s what you do with what you have that really counts, not what you possess.  In these challenging economic times, it’s important to remember there are others dealing with greater difficulties than ourselves.  Even while we tighten our purse strings, we can still give in many ways, for which others would be so grateful.

  • Give of yourself.
  • Go visit someone you’ve been meaning to see for a long time.
  • Write that letter.
  • Bake those cookies.
  • Volunteer for those needing help.
  • Visit shut-ins.
  • Surprise a loved one.
  • Make that phone call to make amends, because you and your mom haven’t spoken in years.
  • Bring your children to an assisted living or nursing home and watch the residents light up.
  • Say what you need to say, and do so right away.
  • Ask for forgiveness and offer it, no matter what.
  • Offer hugs to those who really need them.
  • Listen to your elders because you will learn so much.

4.  If you have an older adult in your life … Spend a full day with them and ask them to share stories of your family history – fun stories, challenges, family secrets, marriages – and look through old photos.  Record this day and make a book for them (and copies for each sibling) so it may be passed down for years to come.  Many children regret not having more family history, but they realize this after a loved one has left us.  Take a photograph of this special day and frame it.

5.  Get your children involved in their own legacy.  TALK, don’t text.  Include older generations in activities with the younger children, if possible.  It won’t do them any harm to listen to grandma’s stories and bake cookies, instead of them playing on their Xbox.  Precious time is slipping away for all of us.  Make the most of it by making meals and eating together, talking, sharing, and most of all, mending anything that needs mending.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

10 Commandments of Estate Behavior

With great reverence for God’s 10 commandments, here are the basic rules which should be followed in any and every estate situation.  Often, we aren’t thinking clearly in the middle of the estate settlement and distribution process.

While there are no laws that pertain to human behavior when handling an estate and the distribution of property, these commandments should be “etched in stone” to remind us how we should behave.

  1. Thou shalt not worship material possessions.  They can be a monkey on your back and, ultimately, you can’t take them with you.
  2. Greed and the love of possessions can be false idols which can, and often do, ruin families.
  3. Don’t forget to take Sabbath for yourself.  We all need time and space to breathe and reflect.
  4. Honor your loved one that just passed away.  Take actions that would respect them and make them proud.
  5. Thou shalt not kill thy family relationships by destroying your chance to find peaceful resolutions.  Mend your fences.
  6. Do not cheat anyone, including yourself, in the estate distribution process.
  7. Thou shalt not steal anything, even if you think no one is watching.  Someone is always watching.
  8. Thou shalt not throw thy sibling(s) under the bus.  What goes around often comes around.
  9. Thou shalt not covet anything a sibling gets.  It’s not worth it; let it go.
  10. Stay true to who you are and walk as straight a path as possible.  Not only is immediate family watching, but your children and grandchildren as well.  Set an excellent example.

©2013 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth is a Thankless Child

(Literal meaning: It is especially painful to raise an ungrateful child.)

Shakespeare really understood human nature, tragic as it can be sometimes.  From his King Lear in 1605, he writes about the pain of a thankless child.

Here’s my hair-raising story:

In an estate I was handling, I was privy to a situation that made my stomach turn.  It still blows my mind!  After all these years, certain situations still get to me … because I care.

Before an elderly parent died, knowing what her children were like, she assigned a trusted friend to be the executor.  The children were estranged, yet greedy.  I cannot comprehend how a child can be estranged, yet still feel they are entitled to an inheritance.  As I have often written in my books, we are entitled to nothing unless it is given to us.  But that’s just my opinion.  It seemed this parent left nothing to the children, save the personal property.  And the hunger games began … literally.

Among the siblings, it became an epic battle of name calling, expert manipulation, grabbing possessions just to spite the other, take as much as they could to sell for cash, and even physical assault.  Besides shaking my head in disbelief, a pitiful thought enters my mind: These behaviors in no way honored the decedent.  Self-centered, disrespectful, discourteous, greedy, bratty …

I wouldn’t want to be around when the karma train pays them a visit.

This parent exited life knowing her children were like that.  Even in death, they pathetically displayed every behavior that shouldn’t be allowed.  This parent lived and died with disappointment and sadness, knowing the kids were like this.  She did what she could from a planning perspective and put someone else in charge of the estate; this was a smart move.  Was this a good parent?  Who knows?  There are two sides to every story, but the kids should at least be respectful in death.

All of these children are middle age which means they are old enough to know better.  They were angry that the parent had the last laugh, so to speak, and hit her in the wallet where it hurt.  This was not  a case of loving and missing a parent so much that they wanted select items for sentimental reasons.

I watched as they stripped this once beautiful home like a school of piranhas would strip a cow bone.  The only emotion was anger.

Lessons I’ve learned from my work:

  1. Do your best to always be genuine, kind, respectful, and loving.
  2. Turn your cheek and bite your tongue often.
  3. Bad behavior can invade your soul, so don’t allow it.
  4. Bad behavior is contagious, so don’t allow it.
  5. Honor those who go before you, and then one day, you’ll be honored too.
  6. Bring as much “light” as you can to the situation.  People can get lost in the dark during estate settlement situations.

©2013 The Estate Lady®

How to Handle Yourself During the Estate Settlement Process

It’s an observation worth noting: When it comes to dividing heirlooms and estate contents, everyone tenses up and no one wants to be the first to talk.  You can sense the apprehension in the room, and it appears as if everyone is trying to predict what the other will do.  Will my sister-in-law make a fuss?  Will brother want the same things I want, and if so, what do we do?  Will there be fighting and resentment?

From the perspective of this 20+ year estate veteran who has observed many families, we should be more concerned with our own behavior.  It is more likely that people will follow rather than lead, so if you lead by example, the others may very well follow suit, especially if you remain positive.  If every heir was in tune with their own behavior and had the ability to stay on the straight and narrow peaceful path, there would be a lot less fighting in the world.  Unfortunately this is not always the case.

When a parent passes, particularly the last remaining parent, true colors, a few fangs, and an entitlement mentality will eventually surface.  Most feuds break out for four basic reasons:

  1. A misunderstanding has taken place and has not been effectively dealt with
  2. Everyone grieves differently and emotions can be volatile
  3. A situation has been festering for years that probably took place during childhood and now will appear, causing all kinds of problems
  4. An heir perceives he/she is getting taken advantage of on the cash assets and/or heirlooms.

Here’s how you can contribute to a more peaceful resolution:

  1. Sit down and say what’s on your mind.  Beating around the bush confuses everyone and confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing.  My father always said that the day after a thunderstorm is usually clean, bright, and beautiful.  The storm clears the air and so does a confrontation that is more about sharing than finger-pointing.  Some heirs can’t handle this confrontation and I would definitely recommend some sort of mediation, if they want to save the relationship.  The down side is if they don’t fix this early on, the relationship will eventually be irreparable as the damage continues to expand and both parties live out their lives with anger in their hearts.
  2. It’s vital to do everything you can to keep the peace.  Regardless of what part you play in this, it will have an impact on you too, most especially a negative impact.  Even indirectly connected, you will be touched in some negative way.  To avoid this, do your best to take the “higher road.”  You’ll feel better doing so, even if it’s not always easy.
  3. Validate the other person’s feelings if they share them with you.  At least, listen.  Repeat what they said to you so they feel you heard them.  Both should agree to simply do the best you can to smooth it over somehow.  A photo of mom and dad sitting in front of you wouldn’t hurt.  After all, this is about honoring them and not about you.
  4. Encourage others to be a part of the healing process, if they would like to be.  It is not about taking sides.  It is about encouraging both parties to do what they can to heal the hurt, if the hurt can be healed.  It’s too easy to throw in the towel and quit.  Always remain objective and try very hard to see the other side.  Seeing both sides, or at least putting yourself in the other’s shoes, might very well lend some insight into the situation.  The problem is that we are generally too self-centered to do this, because we feel strongly we are in the right.  Promise yourself you will at least try!

Dividing heirlooms can be one of the most contentious experiences during our adult lives.  There is no way to completely eliminate family squabbles, but you can learn to put them out when they are smoldering, instead of when they grow into a full-blown forest fire.

© 2013 Julie Hall