Lately we have been working with more mature senior clients (those over 80) in the throes of downsizing. One of their biggest stresses comes from deciding who should be getting what relative to:
- High Value Items
- Treasured Family Memorabilia
- Vital Documents
So we’d like to encourage you this holiday season while you are spending lots of time (hopefully) with your loved ones to “have the conversation” that gets the ball rolling on these serious questions below:
If you are the senior, ask yourself:
- Where would I like to live?
- Who would I like to live with?
- How will I afford these choices?
- Who will I appoint my estate planning to?
- Am I protected if I can’t make my own decisions?
- What possessions are important to me?
- What family members get those items I don’t keep?
If you are the grown child of an aging senior, ask him or her:
- Where would you like to live?
- Who would you like to live with?
- How will you afford these choices?
- Who will you appoint my estate planning to?
- If you can’t make your own decisions, who do you want to appoint to make choices on your behalf?
- Which family members would you want to receive the belongings you no longer want to keep?
We know these are difficult questions, but as time marches on, not having these discussions between parents and children can turn into disastrous consequences and ruin the fibers of family unity. It’s not a matter of if we will all die; it’s a matter of when. Being proactive and organized in the aging process will salvage your blood pressure and maybe even your family.
Here are two more vital tips we’d like to leave you with while you are pondering our conversation starters relative to downsizing… or simply just aging.
The volume of possessions and paperwork in the average home after decades of living is daunting to most homeowners. Begin to set aside time now to go through every space so as to prevent future chaos emotionally and physically. Ask for help if you need it. If you take action while you have the energy to make decisions now you will not be thrust into having family members take your matters (personal and financial) relative to how they think it’s to be best handled.
Create lists of items you would like to give to family members. Consider giving them at holiday time which is perfect. You are giving from your heart and having an opportunity to walk down memory lane in the giving process simultaneously. This giving and talking process is an important psychological component to any downsize.