Your kids still don’t want your stuff! Some ideas for you!
July 10, 2018
They still don’t want your stuff. Last week’s article addressed the topic of personal property or your stuff, and the top 10 things kids don’t want to inherit from their parents or relatives. Fine china is at the top of the list with sterling silver flatware and crystal glasses running a close 2nd. The audience recommended donating to an organization, having a garage sale, opening an account for selling online, or my favorite, giving to the person you want to have it knowing it is now theirs to do as they please. I recently did this with my diamond wedding rings even though I would still occasionally wear them. For me, it was so much fun telling my niece the humorous story of my wedding day on Friday, June 13th. I reassured her the rings were hers and she could decide their fate. One woman with quite the collection of figurines is donating them as bingo prizes for her church. Another woman displays some of her photos each year at the family reunion and asks family members to choose a favorite. This creates the perfect opportunity to relive memories while decreasing the number of photos she has in her possession. Antique furniture was another topic of great concern. Conversation ensued about having the antiques appraised for selling or donating. Someone asked if the Antique Roadshow would be making an appearance in central Illinois anytime soon. The topic of books generated a lively discussion because this was the preferred method of education for many audience members, myself included. When I moved back to Illinois 11 years ago, my personal belongings included over 500 books. Since then, I’ve donated over 300 to libraries or others, but I’m sure my college finance books will forever be a permanent fixture on my bookcases. The type of book also was a big discussion topic especially if it was a gift for a graduation or special occasion, a signed copy by the author, or great-grandmother’s bible. I emphasized the importance of the owner determining the best course of action since it is their stuff to decide if something should be sold, given away, or even discarded. These are just some of the ideas we have to offer so you can begin your downsizing process in case your kids or other relatives don’t want your stuff. Where to start? How to begin such an overwhelming task? To help you get started, download our 'Personal Property Chapter'. After all, do you really want to burden your loved ones with all your stuff?
I thought I would inherit the house!
May 29, 2018
In most situations, it is assumed someone will inherit the house. As our parents age and are faced with the difficult decision of how long they are able to continue living in their home, there is always the question of what will happen to their house. It can be a shock to family members when they are made aware of the cost associated with mom and/or dad moving into a retirement community, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. At one of my speaking engagements in April, the cost of long-term care generated quite the discussion among the attendees. Prices vary depending on the type of care, but my audience was shocked to learn about the depletion of an entire estate in Boston due to three years of payments to a nursing home at the cost of $12,000 per month.
Luckily, the woman had a long-term care policy, but her nursing home costs still required the sale of her home and most of her possessions. It was unfortunate for this family when they realized no one would inherit the house. Having the conversation about Legacy Planning prior to needing to sale the family home or business is a loving and generous thing to do for your family and friends. It will help reduce the stress and confusion associated with a major life change.
Have you thought about where you’d want to live if you no longer could stay in your home? Would you want to live closer to your children? If the reason for the move is Alzheimer’s or dementia, do you have a power of attorney for finances and health care? Do you have a documented plan for your personal property, real estate or any other important possessions? Is your estate set up so your family will inherit the house?
Why is it so hard talking about death?
May 8, 2018
When I bring up talking about death in my speaking engagements there’s always one or two people who swear they are not going to ever die, so there’s no need to have a conversation about it. This makes me smile and sad all at the same time. I smile because it brings back memories of my own father who passed away 9 years ago and was one of those ‘I’m going to live forever’ guys. Even when he was in the hospital during those final days before losing consciousness, he would talk about what he was going to do when he got back home. It makes me sad because talking about death is something that eventually we all face, and those who don’t want to talk about it are losing the opportunity to document their legacy.
Then there are those who want to talk about death and prepare for the inevitable, and it’s the family members who are in denial about the passing of their loved one. I recently heard the story from a friend about her high school classmate who was in the hospital and knew her time on this earth was short, so she wanted to document some thoughts/things in a video. She was talking about death. Because this made her family uncomfortable, they would change the subject and talk about happier things. Unfortunately, the woman passed away without ever sharing her stories or instructing her family of her final wishes for her funeral. What do you want your legacy to be and how do you want to be remembered?