Experience shows almost every adult child will someday face a parent’s mortality. When that happens, they inherit the contents of that parent’s probate real estate household. They inherit the lifetime of accumulations and then they say “what am I going to do with all this stuff?” The accumulation of parental items is frequently a lot because we’ve never been more blessed with so much…. And that leads to overwhelm for the person who’s responsible for the estate of a loved one.
Inland Empire probate clients have shared with me how they get waylaid by emotion and the responsibility for wanting to do the right thing with their parent’s lifetime of treasures and possessions. Naturally everyone wants to respect their parent’s belongings, honor their lives, and be a good steward of their assets. At the same time, the reality is that we all have a house full of our own things. But, most older parents want to gift their children with the lifetime of hard work that created assets, and they also don’t want to overburden their children with their house full of things.
This creates a question of what should be bestowed and kept, and what is simply stuff that becomes a burden.
No one wants to hear their loved one’s items called clutter. Because it is not clutter, it’s the worldly belongings of a person. When an adult child is tasked with the dismantling of their parent’s home, and their parents have passed away, it can become very emotionally difficult to know where to start. Most people pass without having had serious conversations with their family about their belongings and the adult children can get bogged down with wondering what Mom or Dad would have wanted them to do. Most people including our parents, hang on to their belongings because of emotional and physical inertia, some out of avoidance of making the decisions of limiting personal belongings, and some with the false belief that they will hand them down to the next generation when the next generation really don’t have a need for most of their parent’s belongings.
The probate real estate is loaded with belongings, but also with memories. You start to clean it out and five minutes into it you trip over a memory. The family home is filled with relics that represent a lifetime of storied treasures. The pictures alone could take days to stroll through, laugh and cry, remembering the things that happened through the decades of the family being a family. You’ll find dresses used for special occasions, military metals, the special jewelry that Mom wore at the holidays. And mounds and mounds of documentation; some that’s important and some that is not important.
Sorting through it all is physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelming. Figuring out how to do it right is the goal. Taking the journey of clearing out a loved one’s home of five decades can be manageable. Having the right help is key. Also, having the right plan action is necessary. It’s not for the faint of heart to go through everything and find out what matters, what to keep, what to sell, and what to simply let go of. I’m not to go into the details of what your plan can be in this article, I’m just telling you that it can be manageable. My team and I are here to provide good information, help you get a plan that works for you, in your timeline, with empathy and even a few moments of understanding laughter.