As we age, we seem to accumulate more and more “stuff.” One problem that can occur when someone passes away is what to do with the personal possessions. What happens if more than one child wants the same thing? Many families have gone through difficult struggles and fights about the personal property of an estate. So how can you make sure your children won’t be fighting over your things?
One way, of course, is to downsize while you are still living and give people things that you no longer need or want but may have sentimental value to children or friends. This can give you the joy of seeing things given to them that they appreciate. But if these possessions are things you use or want to keep as long as you are living, creating a document (even just a handwritten – but legible – list) will help reduce any future conflicts. You will need to confer with an attorney to determine if this can be added to your Will as a codicil. However, even if it isn’t a legal document, having something down in paper that says Jim gets this, and Susan gets that, can go a long way because rather than fighting over it, the children can know that each item given was mom or dad’s wishes.
This document can be as simple as a paper that has a date on it, a listing of each item and who should get it, and signed with your signature at the bottom. As an added bonus, you can even write something about why you are giving that person the item, or how you came to own it, to provide a wonderful story about your life and the history of these possessions. This is a simple, but useful way of reducing potential family fights, particularly if several children have sentimental value to specific items and more than one child wants the same item.