Di­vid­ing pro­ceeds brings out greed

Los Angeles Times - - PUZZLES/HOROSCOPE - Dear Amy: Avid Reader Send ques­tions to Amy Dickinson by email to askamy@tri­bune.com.

“Try­ing to De­cide Well” was con­cerned that a fam­ily gath­er­ing to divvy up per­sonal items be­fore an es­tate sale might turn into an avari­cious melee.

Many years ago, my first wife’s bach­e­lor un­cle died. Af­ter the will was read, we were told that many of his per­sonal items, in­clud­ing rings, rare coins and sev­eral an­tique gold watches, were on a large ta­ble in an ad­ja­cent room and that the heirs and their fam­i­lies were free to se­lect items as keep­sakes.

As soon as the door opened, one nephew and his two sons dashed into the room and grabbed the watches, rings, coins and other valu­ables, stuff­ing them into their pock­ets.

We were so ap­palled and em­bar­rassed by this cal­lous dis­play of greed that we just walked out of the room.

Later, when in­fight­ing de­vel­oped be­tween the sib­lings and a cousin over the rather sub­stan­tial real prop­erty in the es­tate, my wife legally dis­in­her­ited her­self.

To any­one ad­min­is­ter­ing a di­vi­sion of prop­erty: ei­ther spec­ify who gets what or sell it all and di­vide the pro­ceeds. Dear Reader: “Try­ing to De­cide Well” was at­tempt­ing to deal with this by of­fer­ing an “early bird” sale to fam­ily mem­bers. I think that’s a good idea too.

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