Planning your estate

When you work on your will and plan your estate,  you plan with rose colored glasses. If you have more than one child this could be catastrophic to the  relationship between your children when you are gone.

Do not plan as if everything will be ok. It will not be. Instead, plan your Will as if your children will be at each others throats and they will be fighting over every item in your household.

You’ve finished with the funeral, the family meets at mom or dad’s house and they plan on handling the estate. Then it is time for everyone to ask for what they want. You may have thought that you did not want anything, but when you hear that Suzie is getting the silver dishes you decide that you want the silver silverware.

Yup, we become little kids again with similar emotions and reactions.

I was shocked by the things that my brothers and sisters asked for when my mom died.

One family member’s list grew and grew. Worse, I let some family members stay at my mom’s house. This gave them an opportunity to remember how much different items meant to them.

This is especially challenging when multiple family members want the same item.

There were things that mom and dad collected that we laughed about we now hold dear and fight about.

The best thing you can do is make a spreadsheet listing all of the major items that you have and designate who you want to have each one. Or ask your children to designate what they want and to put the items in order of priority. Here are some of the items to list:

  • furniture
  • appliances
  • rugs
  • power tools
  • yard tools
  • vehicles
  • boats
  • sports equipment
  • recreation vehicles
  • lights and lamps
  • books
  • pictures
  • mirrors

Have your family prioritize the items they want. This way you can work to give everyone their number 1 priority. If two people have the same item as their #1 priority, either flip a coin, or give one member their number 1 and make sure the other gets their number 2. If there is another item that both want, give the priorty to the child who did not get their priority 1.

Going through this list may be painful while you are alive but it would be more painful if you were not there to guide.

Having these discussions helps bring back wonderful memories and gives you an opportunity to host family get togethers to work these through. It is always wonderful to have another excuse to get the family together.

 

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