Saga of the Estate

It can be quite difficult, when a loved one passes, for those left behind to make the practical decisions needed that will help settle the affairs of the estate in an amicable manner.

In the case of my brother and I the complete process was executed quickly, efficiently and in a totally amicable way. We played cards for it.

I say that somewhat “tongue-in-cheek”, because all the important stuff was worked out fairly, with total agreement on the process, before any item was dealt with.

What we played cards for was the right to choose first on the items of sentimental value that we both would have liked. Even then the ‘loser’ didn’t really lose much because they got to choose the next item in the group of items that was up for grabs on that round.

The method we used to settle the major stuff was the real secret of the amicable settlement.

Both of us were fairly technically savvy 10 years ago. We each had handheld digital devices called Psions. On them we had created a spreadsheet which listed all the items of the estate along with an estimated value. We then went through the list putting each of our names next to items we would take home. If we came across something we both wanted, we bid for it. The value of the winning bid went down against the name of the winner.

At the end of the process the totals were compared and any difference made up with cash from the estate.

So, rather than waste precious energy bickering over who got what and whether one was getting more valuable items than the other – we were able to open the liquor cabinet, get out the cards and play a game of poker to settle who got to choose first when we split up the toy matchbox cars. An altogether more pleasant way of passing our time!

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