The Downsizing Generation: How to Handle a Surplus of Stuff When a Loved One Ages
Downsizing is a natural step for the baby boomers as they age, but that leaves more and more adult children to sort through belongings such as China sets, furniture, heirlooms, and other knickknacks, determining which to keep, which and to whom to give away, and which to sell or donate.
Traditionally, all of these belongings would simply be passed on, but with such easy access to a variety of furniture, decorations, art, the next generation would rather obtain their own that match their particular need, taste, and desire. This leads to a surplus of “stuff” that is left behind and unwanted by both generations.
However, wanted or not it can be hard to cut decades of belongings from your life, which is why there has become demand for the senior move management industry. It’s a fact that today, there are professionals who can help your loved one go through each item to decide what should be kept, what should be given away, and what should go to charity or donated. While the cost of this professional service can be up to $5,000 for a large estate, it eases the burden on the adult children and ensures the loved one’s wishes are listened to and honored.
Bear in mind that with the uptick in downsizing seniors, charities and nonprofits that typically accept used furniture and other belongings are faced with the burden of too much stuff. The dated styles baby boomers preferred during their prime don’t fit the tastes and needs of today’s generation because the current generation views belongings like furniture and dishes as functional and more disposable, better suited to their urban, fast-paced lives where minimalism and portability are more prized than sentimentality and tradition.
Another way for downsizers to decrease the time and effort it takes to dispose of all their belongings is to be very clear about what they consider to be heirlooms and valuable items, either by indicating so in their wills, in a separate writing ancillary to their will, or in another documented manner.
More than just documenting their wishes, downsizers should discuss which belongings their children or other heirs would want, while at the same time expressing their own dreams and desires for particular sentimental objects. By opening this dialogue, many family arguments can be avoided in the future, as everyone’s desires will be out in the open so their will not be any confusion over dispersal instructions.
As more baby boomers age and non-profits turn away dated donations, the need for thoughtful estate planning is greater than ever. A comprehensive estate plan can ensure your belongings either go to those who will cherish them or to the charities that will benefit from them.
This article is a service of Levi Alexander, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
Photo by Ekrulila: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-classic-design-of-living-room-2332913/