You may have spent a lifetime building a collection of assets to leave to your children when you die. Yet, if they do not want them, it could be a waste of time.
Think about which of your parents’ things you wanted when they died. They probably had a lot of stuff of no interest to you. The same will apply to your children.
Tastes can change between people and generations
Consider discussing things with your family rather than making your estate plan a surprise to them. It can help inform your decisions. Their tastes may have changed since they left home. Here are some things your children may not want when you die:
- Your collections: Even if one of your children inherited your enthusiasm for late nineteenth-century watercolors of birds they might not be able to care for it. If they live in a humid climate or have small children, leaving it to them could see your valuable collection ruined.=
- Your real estate: Families are smaller than they once were. Your children may feel the house they grew up in is too big for them. Or they may prefer something more modern, or have no intention of living in the area.
Once you have worked out what your children will and will not have a use for, seek legal help to assess your situation. Sometimes there are tax advantages to selling or transferring assets while you are still alive. Other times there are tax advantages to passing it on at death. Remember that any estate plan needs to provide for you if you fall into ill health. If you hold onto too much, you risk Medicare taking it to pay for your health care bills.