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Our Daily Bleg: How to Divvy Up a Loved One's Goods Without Acrimony?

A reader named D.J. writes in with a problem that requires some sensitive game theory, trickier than the roommate dilemma. Note that he is wise enough to flatter you as “intelligent and thoughtful,” so do your best to live up to his bias.

I’m from a family of six and a few years ago my mom passed away. My dad now wants to downsize from a large house and get rid of much of the furniture and other goods in the house before moving. He’d like us kids to work out amongst ourselves as much as possible who gets what items. There are some nice antiques, but we’re not talking about any original Monets or anything like that — mostly furniture and artwork that my folks accumulated over the years at auctions, along with other sentimental items and a large amount of stuff that will probably wind up being sold or donated.
I love my siblings and want to continue to love them after this process is over. Perhaps your intelligent and thoughtful followers can suggest the most equitable way to distribute the goods in the house, assuming there’s a thorough inventory of what’s available for distribution.

I too come from a large family but we had the good fortune to have no fortune left behind to divvy up. What did happen, however, in the wake of our second parent’s death, was that a large personality vacuum arose. All the relationships that used to orbit around our mother were no longer able to do so, and inter-sibling relationships changed a lot. Not always for the worse, but a lot of change. Maybe dealing with that will be a bleg for another day. In the meantime, please give your best strategic advice to D.J.