Why Your Kids Might Not Want Things You Intend to Leave Them

As baby boomers enter their senior years and prepare their wills, they often give great thought to which of their children will inherit their Gorham sterling silver place settings, Royal Doulton dinnerware, Ethan Allen furniture and porcelain statues -- not to mention the jewelry, memorabilia, record albums and heirlooms that you've always assumed you'd pass on to your children.

The problem is that many of their children are millennials who generally aren't as interested in collecting things as their parents. They are less likely to have the sentimental attachment to belongings that their parents have. Many don't even own cars . They live in smaller homes in urban areas where work, shopping, restaurants and the gym are a quick walk, bike or Uber ride away.

Their pictures are not carefully placed in bound photo albums, but on their phone, somewhere in the Cloud or on social media. As one 33-year-old noted, "If I can't store my memories of something in a computer, I'm probably not going to keep them around."

Of course, everyone is different. You may well have belongings, whether valuable or simply filled with important memories, that your kids would like to have -- either when you downsize to a smaller home in your retirement years or after you're gone. Therefore, it's important to talk with them about these items. If they aren't going to want items of monetary value, you may wish to sell them and use the money for yourself.

The important thing, as you're preparing your will and other estate documents, is not to assume that your children value the same things that you do. Leaving things to your heirs that they neither want nor need will only create more work for them after you're gone.

On the other hand, if there are items that you want to pass down, explain to them the meaning and history behind them. If you need help having these conversations with your children as you're preparing your will, your Maryland estate planning attorney can provide guidance.

Source: The Washington Post, "Stuff it: Millennials nix their parents’ treasures," Jura Koncius, Aug. 16, 2017

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