Blog

The Downsizing Generation: How to Handle a Surplus of Stuff When a Loved One Ages

As the baby boomer generation ages—and downsizes—more and more

adult children will be tasked with going through their loved one’s belongings to decide what to do with everything. As more and more people downsize after retirement, china sets, furniture, heirlooms, and other belongings are often left behind and unwanted.

Traditionally, these items have been passed down to the next generation. But today, the next generation has different needs, tastes, and wants. As a result, there is a surplus of “stuff” baby boomers don’t need or have room for, and their adult children don’t want. Maybe that includes you.

This is an all too common problem with a few helpful solutions.

The thought of tossing a lifetime of belongings in the trash is more than many can bear, which explains the advent of the senior move management industry. Today, there are a plethora of 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.

The cost of this professional service can be up to $5,000 for a large estate, but it eases the burden on the adult children and ensures the loved one’s wishes are listened to and honored.

Bear in mind, as the baby boomer generation ages, 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. 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 to decrease the time and effort it takes to dispose of all your belongings is to be very clear about what you consider to be heirlooms and valuable items by indicating in your will, or in a separate writing ancillary to your will, exactly what’s important to you and what isn’t.
Most importantly, talk to your children or other heirs to see what they want and don’t want. And to make sure they know what’s important to you, and what isn’t. The more you can communicate about this now with your loved ones, the better.

You may be surprised to discover that most family fights that break up families aren’t over money at all, but over the personal property of mom and dad that the kids fight over because there were no clear 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 charities that will benefit from them.

This article is a service of Marianne S. Rantala, 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.

Weathering the Storm: How Families Can Plan for Natural Disasters

Planning for natural disasters is more than just stocking up on canned food and water. In a natural disaster, food and water will keep you alive, but how will you rebuild your life if your home and community are devastated? Here are some simple tips that will help you get back on your feet should disaster strike.

Make sure you have enough insurance. Basic homeowner’s insurance typically won’t cover damage caused by natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. You might need to purchase additional insurance to cover these types of events. If you’d like an objective review of the types and amounts of insurance you have, contact us, we can help.

Keep a thorough inventory of what you own. Having up to date information on your personal belongings—especially valuables—will make getting them replaced using your insurance claim easier. Pictures of your belongings stored in the cloud is one great way to handle this in advance of any natural disasters.

Create a financial plan. Natural disasters can be financially disastrous as well. You may not be able to return to work and could face the expense of repairing—or rebuilding—your home.

Plan well to ensure you can meet your expenses and make a financial recovery. Account for your insurance deductibles, which can be 10-20% of the total damages and have six month’s salary in savings to cover any gaps in your ability to earn an income.

Protect important information by making digital and hard copies. Put a copy in a fireproof/waterproof safe and give copies to friends or family that reside outside of your area for safekeeping.

It’s also a good idea to work with us. A Personal Family Lawyer® has unique tools that can safeguard your information to make recovering from a natural disaster easier even when you’ve lost everything.

Follow standard safety recommendations. Keep enough non-perishable food and water for your family for 3-5 days. Consider investing in a generator. Build a first-aid kit, and learn CPR as a family.

Keep a comprehensive emergency kit with contact information, survival tools, and a change of clothes for your family members. Designate a meeting place all family members can get to in case your home is wiped out. And talk with your family about what to do in different scenarios.

Families who have someone watching out for them can recover more quickly from natural disasters. Working with us can ensure you have someone waiting to assist you when you face tragedy. A Personal Family Lawyer® can help you with the legal, financial, and insurance issues you face after a natural disaster and help you properly account for losses on your tax return.

This article is a service of Marianne S. Rantala, 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.