If your globe-trotting great uncle happens to be a collector of culturally-significant teakettles, you may find yourself one day inheriting lots and lots of teakettles. Just be thankful he wasn’t into obscure instruments of torture (of great historical value). But then again, if he was, your problem is the same: You have your own stuff. You can’t just throw his legacy away, but you definitely can’t keep it in your living room.
The history of inheriting stuff from parents and grandparents and even long-lost relatives is fraught with outrage and excitement. In ye olden days around the world, laws of primogeniture kept all the property in the hands of a firstborn legitimate son. Daughters, younger sons, illegitimate sons, and other relatives? Sorry; not for you! Notorious and vicious feuds over “who gets what after Dad dies” have plagued mankind since the dawn of time. Look no further than the Bible—or your daily newspaper. Remember the Anna Nicole Smith legal battle? Inheritance drama is still going strong!