Families: Hey, You! That's Mine!

Dividing family heirlooms can rekindle or begin the ugliest of family feuds. Here's how some families are sorting the goods

Things went fairly smoothly after Mattie Moye Hagerty died. The Greenville, N.C., widow left her estate and possessions to be divided equally among her three sons. Two sons, twins Roy and Guy, traveled to the family home to start to divide the family heirlooms. Their brother Harry was in touch by phone before making the trip south from Washington. The brothers asked Harry what he wanted from the house. He named a few things. Then his wife Helen remembered the footstool, the homely one with fringe running along the bottom.

"The footstool was something we had given to her years ago,...

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