Don’t Leave it for Your Kids to Have to Decide What to Do with YOUR Stuff - Bear and Raven Antiques

Don’t Leave it for Your Kids to Have to Decide What to Do with YOUR Stuff

House is bursting at the roof with STUFF

Many adults over age 65 make the decision to move to a smaller space due to retirement, ease of management, or the loss of a spouse or partner.

“Their kids may play a role in the downsizing, but what we’re finding is that the kids are usually too busy to be the main driver,” explains Bob Bortner, co-owner of Bear & Raven Appraisal Services. He and his husband Larry Straka, both CAGA certified, serve as advisers and liaisons in the process of assessing value and liquidating possessions. Their training and certification allow us to provide appraisals for fine art, collectibles, home goods, vehicles and more.

When a parent dies, children are left with the responsibility of assessing the value of their parent’s belongings and determining a course of action for disposing of them. 

Points to consider

Emotional Toll: Going through a loved one's belongings after their death can be an emotional task. Each item might trigger memories, and having to decide what to keep, donate, or discard can become an added emotional strain.

Potential Conflicts: If there are multiple heirs, disputes might arise about who gets what, especially if there are sentimental or valuable items in the mix. By making decisions about these items beforehand, potential conflicts can be avoided.

Financial Costs: In cases where a professional has to be hired to assist in sorting, moving, or selling items, it can become an added financial burden for the heirs. Many times this demands time taken off work and travel.

Time Consuming: Going through a lifetime's worth of possessions can be a time-consuming task. This can be overwhelming, especially for those who are grieving or have other pressing responsibilities.

Environmental Impact: Often, in the rush and emotional strain of clearing out a home, many items might be thrown away instead of being recycled, donated, or sold. Planning ahead can help ensure a more sustainable approach to the distribution of belongings.

Peace of Mind: For the person making the decisions, it can be comforting to know that they've taken action to make things easier for their loved ones. It can also be an opportunity to share stories and memories associated with particular items.

Steps You Can Take Now

It is better to make decisions about your possessions while you are still alive and able to do so. 

Downsize: Periodically go through your belongings and consider downsizing. Not only will this reduce the load your family might have to deal with later, but it can also simplify your own life.

Document: Keep an inventory of valuable or sentimental items. Make clear notes on your wishes regarding these items, whether you'd like them to be given to specific family members, sold, or donated.

Communicate: Talk with family members about your intentions. It might be an opportunity for them to express interest in certain items or share their thoughts.

Legal Documentation: Depending on the value and complexity of your assets, consider working with an attorney to draft a will or trust that includes instructions for the distribution of personal property.

Donate: If there are items you no longer need or use, consider donating them. Many organizations can benefit from gently used goods.

Digital Assets: Remember to also make provisions for digital assets, like photographs, email accounts, and social media profiles. Provide clear instructions and necessary access information.

Hire Help: Consider hiring a professional organizer or estate planner to help you sort through and make decisions about your possessions. Bear & Raven provides expert advice and helps individuals understand the process and their options.

Being proactive about managing your belongings can provide relief to your loved ones in a challenging time. It’s a considerate and responsible step to take to ensure that your wishes are followed and to reduce potential strain on your family." It doesn’t have to be overwhelming,” stresses Bortner. “We act at the mediator to help release the emotional baggage there may be around possessions.”

Bear & Raven Appraisal Service offers a wide range of valuation and estate liquidation services for clients in Southern Arizona, and beyond. Please contact us to learn how we can help reduce your family's burden. Visit the appraisals section of our website to learn more.


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