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TIPS FOR LETTING GO

TIPS FOR LETTING GO
Giving Yourself Peace of Mind and Closure
When Handling an Estate

There’s nothing simple or easy about letting go, especially when you are handling the
estate of a loved one. People have a tendency to keep too much from the estate,
often finding comfort in the “things” and the memories attached to them.

Being able to let go helps with closure and peace of mind, minimizes family strife,
and reduces future worries when your children have to carry the burden of making
decisions for these items.

When we keep too much, several things can happen:

  • A year or two from now, we may ask ourselves why we took so much, as it can
    take over our homes, space and life.
  • Marital strife may take place, because our homes can easily become
    overwhelmed and cluttered.
  • Storage is not a practical long term solution. The cost of storage often far
    outweighs the value of the items that have been stored. Most clients regret
    placing things in storage and spending thousands of dollars they wish they
    could have back. Try to make decisions now, rather than kicking the can
    down the road. Postponing these decisions will only delay the inevitable.
  • Sometimes, people select too much not only for themselves, but for their
    children and grandchildren as well, thinking they will want grandmother’s
    china in the future. It is a painful realization when they don’t want it, or even
    if they do, they will only keep a small token. Realize that these items are more
    important to you and your parents than to the younger generations who have
    little attachment to anything material.
  • Guilt is a terrible thing; try not to let it get to you. If you keep too much, you
    can feel guilty. If you keep too little, you may also feel guilty thinking, “Mom
    would be so upset if I sold that,” or “Mom said it was valuable,” or “Mom said I
    should keep it.”
  • The bottom line is “What do YOU want?”

    It’s perfectly appropriate to let go of possessions especially if you don’t absolutely
    cherish them. Sometimes, you just need someone to say it’s okay to let go. What
    was special to mom or dad may not be special to you or your children.
    Shift your thought process to determine if anyone in the family wants these items. If
    not, have an ASEL estate sale professional sell them to someone who will cherish
    them like mom and dad did; then split the proceeds from the sale with your loved
    ones.
    Remember that those items will make new memories for new people. It is important
    to be honest with yourself that those items are not special enough for you to keep.
    They could be very special to the new buyer. If you feel this way, it’s time to let go.

    Tips to assist you in this process:

    • Don’t keep items just because. Be thoughtful and minimalist in your
      approach. Ask yourself: Do you really need it and have a purpose for it?
    • The more stuff you keep, the more it becomes a monkey on your back or your
      children’s backs. This is one monkey that has a tendency to get bigger. The
      stuff doesn’t go away; one day, your heirs will need to tend to the same exact
      items.
    • Record a video of the estate as it was when your loved one lived there.
      Distribute it to siblings before starting to move, distribute, clear out, and sell
      belongings.
    • Still photographs are a great idea, especially of individual items that have
      meaning to you, but you have no space for them and just want the memory.
      Photos take up far less space than the actual items.
    • If you find old vintage and antique photos, scan them and distribute them to
      family and heirs. You can also create a memory book or photo album of
      vintage photos. Go online to a photo memory vendor (like Shutterfly or
      Snapfish) and create a memory book. Memory books and video take up much
      less space. They will also be more treasured than scattered photos or slides.
    • Give to those less fortunate. Maybe your loved one had a favorite charity.
      Donate to those less fortunate, whether it is canned goods, clothing, linens,
      kitchenware, books, etc. If you decide to have an estate sale, discuss this
      with the estate sale professional.
    • Be honest and realistic. You cannot fit your mom and dad’s home inside of
      yours. Have healthy boundaries and realize that space is a relevant factor.
    • If you bring in one item, one or two items will have to leave in order to make
      room.
    • Ask yourself some pointed questions:
      • Will I use this item?
      • Why am I keeping it?
      • Do I love it so much I can’t live without it?
      • Is there someone who could use it more?
      • Am I keeping it because I don’t want someone else to have it?
    • Be selective and limit yourself to only a couple boxes of items. If you see this
      process getting out of hand, catch yourself and put things back.
    • Escort “Guilt” to the door. You don’t need to carry that.
    • If the estate needs to pay off debt, take as little as possible, so the remainder
      can be sold by a professional and proceeds be applied to paying down that
      debt.
    • Select carefully for a future generation. Very few actually keep what is
      selected for them.

     

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