Cleaning out the parents’ home after their passing is often an incredibly difficult, emotional, and taxing experience. The kids have to do all of the things that they would if they were spring cleaning their own houses, but the similarities end there.
When the kids clean out their parents’ house, they have to sort through years’ worth of someone else’s possessions. These possessions may vary in value, both monetarily and sentimentally—and this is where a family feud can begin.
Some kids may see an old record collection, for example, as a priceless family heirloom, while others may see it as cash that they can use.
A recent MarketWatch article discusses this very issue and offers some suggestions for kids who are in the midst of sorting through their parents’ homes. These suggestions include the following:
- Taking the time needed to carefully go through everything (instead of rushing through the process, which can lead to mistakes and regrets)
- Coming up with a plan that works for each family member
- Involving each family member in the process
- Hiring an appraiser to determine what, if anything, in the house is valuable
The estate planning lawyers at Lovett & House Co., LPA would also add that parents can—and should—plan ahead to avoid potential family disputes over their heirlooms.
Parents should have detailed wills (and trusts, if necessary) that outline the distribution of their assets. While it may not be necessary to include every single possession—down to the last handmade Valentine’s Day card—it is critical to include possessions that are valuable or hold sentimental. These are the possessions over which kids may fight over.
A last will and testament will determine what to keep and what can be sold or donated, which will help to protect a family from needless feuds.
If you have questions about creating a will and the distribution of your possessions, please don’t hesitate to contact the estate planning lawyers at Lovett & House Co., LPA in Dayton. We are happy to answer your questions and guide you through the process.