When Boomers Inherit Their Parents Possessions
SORRY, NOBODY WANTS YOUR PARENTS’ STUFF
Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms
After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.
Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.
The Stuff of Nightmares
So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)
Many boomers and Gen X’ers charged with disposing the family heirlooms, it seems, are unprepared for the reality and unwilling to face it.
“They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.”
— Susan Devaney, The Mavins Group
“It’s the biggest challenge our members have and it’s getting worse,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers(NASMM).
“At least a half dozen times a year, families come to me and say: ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’” says financial adviser Holly Kylen of Kylen Financials in Lititz, Pa. The answer: lots of luck.
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