The Solution to the Irony of Heirlooms

We spend a lifetime collecting and caring for heirlooms, yet we rarely take the time to make a plan for them once we pass away.  We allow our children to fight over them, instead of making wish lists and talking with them about their wishes. 

Some will argue that their 3-year old grandchild will want these heirlooms thirty years from now.  If I were a betting lady, I would disagree!  The younger generations have no desire for china, silver, crystal, etc.  They prefer IKEA, Pottery Barn, and Crate and Barrel to grandmother’s “old stuff.”  Though we have fond memories of heirlooms, our homes are already too full, and 70% of our stuff we will never use.  So, let us ponder for a minute: How will our children handle our estate when our time comes? 

Planning is the key to a smoother division of property and estate settlement.

  • Enlist the assistance of an estate planning attorney.  This is no time to be frugal.
  • Choose an appropriate executor who will get it done, remain firm, and honor the decedent’s wishes.
  • Hire a personal property appraiser to ascertain what has value vs. what doesn’t.
  • Base the division of personal property on equitable distribution to keep it as fair as possible.
  • Read The Boomer Burden – Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff, perfect for clients, attorneys, heirs, and parents.

© 2010 Julie Hall

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