When you start to get your estate plan in order, dividing up things like your bank, retirement and investment accounts is easy. It’s harder, though, to decide how you want to divide a houseful of mementos and personal items.
You may, however, be stressing out over nothing. While you may have a deep emotional attachment to your great-aunt’s rolling pin or your grandmother’s fine china, your adult children may not feel the same way. They may not feel sentimental about such things – or their tastes may just differ substantially from yours. Plus, they most likely already have a household full of their own collected mementos
What can you do with these things in your will?
First, try talking to your adult children and asking them if there are any particular items that matter emotionally to them. Their answers may surprise you. One child may really want that old afghan you knitted, while another may want your favorite coffee cup. Simply put, the things they value the most may not be what you expect.
If there are no disputes, you can leave each child what they really want in your will. If there are overlapping desires, you have an opportunity now to find compromises and make decisions that won’t lead to a family fallout later.
So, what can be done with the rest? You have numerous options. For example:
- You could engage in “Swedish death cleaning” and clear out all your excess stuff now, so that it doesn’t burden you or your loved ones.
- You could designate many of your household items, such as clothing and kitchenware, to go to charity.
- You could order that the household items (aside from those you’ve specifically noted and set aside by request) be sold at auction after your death and the proceeds added to your estate.
Estate planning takes a lot more thought than most people realize, which is why it’s always wise to do it with experienced legal guidance.