Need help with tangible property list (Will). Any advice?


My mom has written out many pages of who gets what, some is favorite sweater or an old wooden step stool, things of purely sentimental value. Other items are a set of sterling silver flatware, some oil paintings, sapphire earrings, and are possibly very valuable.
Mom has tried to be "equal" but.....if the estate says everything divided in equal protions, does that override the "tangible personal property lists"? I am the Executor, so should I ask Mom to clarify this now? Some of the beneficiaries ate grumbling (of course) that their list of stuff is less valuable than another's.

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sometimes the Executor will 1) have everything appraised, 2) compile it into a typed list, and 3) have a shopping trip, first pass thru each beneficiary gets to put their name on things.
If several people put their name on the same item, you draw names out of a hat.
If nobody puts their name on something, it is entered into the General Sale to the Public.
The idea is, the beneficiaries get first dibs on the prized items, but they have to "pay" for it out of their inheritance. After the sale is over, divide the proceeds (less the expenses which may be 20% or more) amongst the beneficiaries. Subtract their "payments" for the items they wanted to "buy". And issue checks for the balance.
Maybe someone else can weigh in here, but this is what they did for my grandparents estate, which was huge and over 2 states so it was amazing the sheer amount of stuff there was. And several sets of silver and other valuables.
NOTE: silverPLATE is not the same as Sterling Silver (for anyone who is un-aware!).
And in general, the value of an item is what it was worth on the day the person died, so if it is a Solid Gold item, check the value of gold on the day they died.
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Well mom tried to ask people what they wanted, but 3 of them all wanted the sapphire earrings (for example) mom was on some days very distressed about how to divide, and asked me what to do. I said she should get the jewelry & silver appraised, but mom says that is Too Expensive. I have no experience with any of this. But if the WILL stipulates an "equal" division, and the tangible property lists are not in fact "equal" what are my duties as Executor?
I count myself as very lucky that I can ask Mom what she wants, still, but she is in turn asking ME what to do.....and since I'll be the final decider, want to have a good plan in place. Some of the beneficiaries don't have enough money to "shop" for sapphire earrings at a sale (grandkids in college).
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In a case like this, you could have an estate sale, and they can buy the items at market value from the estate. Then the cash proceeds are divided equally. That's the only fair way to do it. Heirs will always grumble. You will be amazed to find out that "appraised value" is always exponentially larger than what an item will sell for. Even sterling silver can be little more than scrap value. Jewelry, unless it is a signed piece, gets melted down.
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If family is grumbling you might suggest they take it up with Mom. If they are unwilling to do that, the executor's job is to carry out the wishes of the deceased. If Mom has taken the time to write things out, she has made it clear what her wishes are. One question, how do they know what everyone is getting?
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