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A recent article in the New York Times addresses the subject of what to do with family keepsakes and heirlooms once an aging parent downsizes or dies. Many older adults have assumed they would pass their possessions down to their heirs. However, the reality is that many younger people don't have room for andd o not want a large dining room set or a buffet full of china, a tea service, and gravy boats.

The article points out that many young adults are buying "temporary" or "disposable" goods from stores like IKEA or Target, rather than inheriting them from parents or grandparents.

What will happen to family possessions is an important topic to discuss with your loved ones when planning your estateThis should be an open, honest conversation with input from both sides. Parents can no longer assume that their kids will want all of their furniture and belongings. Children need to be honest and not feel obligated to take items they just don't want.

What to Do With All That Stuff

If you are preparing to downsize your home, there are a number of tools you can use to get organized:

  • Sortly is an app to help you organize your belongings, ensure that everything arrives after a move, or remember what is in storage, and where. Photograph your things and then tag, group, and organize them in a way that makes sense for you. You can create custom labels with QR codes for all the items and export the info or sync it with your other devices.
  • Tody lets you manage household tasks such as cleaning and organizing and share those chores with all family members. It can also track how much progress has been made on each task.

Why Wait? Give Things Away Now!

Even if you don't plan to downsize yet, start thinking ahead and acting now. Are there particular items your children admire? Why not pass them along now, while you're able to witness them being used and enjoyed? If you aren't ready to hand possessions down, at least have that honest conversation with your loved ones about what they would like as well as what they don't want! One of our clients has even written her children's initials on items she wants to ensure go to each of them.

Do you have estate planning questions? Contact us for a free consultation.