Lets be honest, kids have different tastes than their parents do. This is evident to any parent who has children that want to dress themselves, feed themselves, and decorate their own rooms. So why is it reasonable to assume that when we die someday, our kids will want to inherit all of our things?
With the holidays coming up, it’s a good time to sit down with parents, grandparents, or other family members to discuss downsizing and what they want to do with their estate someday. “Let the kids deal with it,” should not be the end of the conversation. Anyone that has ever had to deal with an unexpected death in the family or a large and complex estate knows that it can be a very hectic and stressful experience, especially combined with the mourning process and/or making funeral arrangements.
It’s typically much easier for parents and grandparents to gradually downsize possessions and to involve their families in their plans to distribute personal property, particularly if it includes any family heirlooms. It could be as simple as sitting down with family members individually or as a group and asking them what they’d like.
Assets not wanted by heirs can either be donated to a local charity or equitably distributed if the property is sold with the proceeds divided amongst the recipients. If you don’t think your grandchildren are going to enjoy your Hummel collection as much as you did, why not sell it and take them on a trip, add to their college fund, or do something nice for yourself?
The end of the year also serves as a good time to update wills, personal property inventories, and insurance coverage. While these activities are certainly not fun and exciting, they’re import and will provide a good deal of peace of mind if / when you need to use them.
The original article can be found in the November 2014 issue of Southern Neighbor available here: www.southernneighbor.com.