In this Elder Law Minute, Kaye Dent brings up the very real possibility of family members not wanting heirlooms passed down to them, and how it’s wise to have these conversations prior to planning your estate.
Hi. I’m Kaye Deselms Dent with Dent Coulson Elder Law, here with an elder law minute for you. These videos are intended to educate you about the elder care journey, which begins earlier in life than you might think. We hope that you find them useful, and if you have any questions, please call us at Dent Coulson Elder Law.
It’s not uncommon for people to be concerned about leaving family heirlooms like, Grandma’s ring or Great Grandma’s China to specific people. And many times, I have clients who come in convinced that their children want these items. And I hate to burst people’s bubbles, but when clients are really focused on these things and it’s not clear from questions I ask that the children know about these gifts, or are particularly interested in them, I encourage clients to talk to their kids about their expectations and their wants and needs with what I call younger generations at my age, meaning people under the age of 50 and to some extent under the age of 60.
I’m finding that the children often are not really that concerned about the stuff, about the China, about the jewelry. In our economy, some of these things don’t have the same value they used to because of the demand, also because of the general economy in some cases, and people aren’t living the same lifestyles that they used to. Maybe Grandma’s China wouldn’t really be used so much anymore. People aren’t having the same dinner parties; they’re having more casual family gatherings. And while these things might still hold a little bit of sentimental value, the focus on them isn’t necessarily where you need to be for estate planning purposes.
That doesn’t mean that there’s no place in it, but the bottom line is that it’s probably a good idea to sit down with your kids, maybe even during the holidays if people can get along well enough and say, “Hey, you know, I was thinking that I would leave Susie’s Grandma’s China, but Susie, do you even want it?” And Susie may say, “Mom, where would I put it? I live in a small apartment, or my kids would just break it, whatever.” Whatever Susie’s response is may be the opposite of what Mom thinks it would be.
And I think that this discussion advice goes to the greater estate planning discussion as well. There are other situations that you might not realize or might not know about that your children would be concerned about if they inherited certain assets or even certain amounts of money from you depending on their circumstances. If you have a child who receives Medicaid assistance or SSI, for instance, you will need to do special needs planning, and there are many other considerations. But for today’s purposes, I did want to mention that sometimes the stuff is not really what your kids are concerned about or want to be, what they might consider to be burdened with.
So before you meet with your estate planning attorney, talk with your kids again about what their expectations are and if they want any particular things. And don’t leave it to chance. If your kids are clear that, yes, Jimmy wants all of Grandpa’s tools, and Susie wants Grandma’s China, then by all means, it would be a great idea to put that in your estate planning documents. But if your kids aren’t really interested in those items, then that’s not necessarily the place to focus your energy in making your estate plan.
There are a lot of issues to tackle in Estate Planning, and the Attorneys at Dent Coulson Elder Law are here to help. Call us today for a consultation.
Also looking for information about Medicaid and Asset Preservation? Visit these articles:
“Your Trusted Advisor on the Elder Care Journey”
Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.