Lately, we have been working with more “mature” clients (80+) who happen to be in the throws of downsizing. We have found that one of their biggest stresses comes from deciding “who” should be getting “what” relative to their lifetime of possessions including:
- High-value items
- Vital documents
- Treasured family memorabilia (lots and lots of it)
Despite preparation and planning, having to address a lifetime of memories, belongings and sometimes end-of-life issues, the process can begin to feel rushed and unearth a variety of emotions. We have witnessed fear, anxiety and a bit of melancholy by the homeowner as well as anger, impatience and frustration by adult children or other family members. What have we discovered? The best way to approach this process is with compassion and care. Most important is that we have learned that first and foremost — long before the time comes — each and everyone of us no matter where we are in the lifecycle, MUST have the “conversation.”
Not sure where to begin? Here are some conversation starters:
- Where would I like to live?
- Who would I like to live with?
- How will I afford these choices?
- Are my vital documents up to date?
- Who will I appointment my estate planning to?
- Am I or my family 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?
As the holiday season begins and time is spent with loved ones, we strongly encourage EVERYONE to “have the conversation.” We have experienced for ourselves, professionally and personally, that although having the “conversation” can be difficult, we also know that the alternative can be much worse, sometimes resulting in unexpected and devastating consequences.
Life is uncertain and whether long or short, it requires preparation and planning. The time is now to have the “conversation” — it will be the best gift you will ever give those you love . . . and get.