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Could an auction eliminate any chances of an estate dispute?

In trying to plan around potential estate disputes, you realize that children probably are not going to fight over money. You plan to split it all up equally.

Instead, any disputes will likely settle on sentimental items and things that the children have an emotional connection to. If two children both want a book you used to read to them as kids -- even if it isn't technically worth anything -- then how can you settle it? Sure, one child could buy another copy, but that's not the point of a sentimental dispute.

To get around this, some people are deciding to just auction off everything that they own. They put the directions right into the will. When they die, the children have to sell all of their assets -- which the parents can then list out -- and split up the proceeds.

This does remove any chance of a dispute between heirs over sentimental items. No one gets them. They all get the cash value.

Now, you may worry that children will still be angry to see the items go. That book may only fetch a dollar at auction. It's worth far more to them than that. They may not fight with each other, but will they feel resentful toward you?

However, there is an easy out. If children really do want particular items, they can still go to the sale and buy them. The profit then gets split up, meaning they get the item for a bit less than they paid, but the other children also get some of the monetary value of that item.

This example shows why it is wise to think creatively when trying to stop estate disputes. Unfortunately, most parents do not take this step. Children who find themselves in a dispute need to know all of their legal rights.

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