Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Don’t be insulted, mom and dad: The kids may not want your “stuff”

Our firm’s attorneys are always encouraging clients to get organized and clear the clutter from their homes. Clutter is perilous for seniors. As we age, a fall is more likely to be life-threatening or cause permanent disability. (See prior post about actress Ann Davis.) Why put more things in your way?

Getting organized and getting rid of excess belongings are also a great kindness to your family. Eventually someone is going to have to go through your paperwork and your belongings. If it’s not easy for you to deal with your own stuff now, why would someone else find it any easier in the future?

A recent article in the Washington Post points to another reason not to over-save. If you think your kids are going to want your stuff, think again: They probably don’t!

Yes, it hurts to hear that, but think about it: Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation were raised with stuff you can feel, touch, put in a closet. They had scrapbooks, shoeboxes of photos, books, heavy furniture. They needed mugs and dishes because they made coffee and prepared dinner at home. They didn’t stop at Starbucks or McDonald’s in the morning or pick up dinner on the way home.

Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are a whole different story. They have grown up in the digital age. They have lots of stuff, too – but it’s virtual stuff, stored on computers and phones, not in shoeboxes or closets. The younger generation also tends to live in smaller spaces than their parents and grandparents. Even if they wanted to inherit certain items, where in the world would they put them?

The Washington Post article quotes Stephanie Kenyan, a Maryland appraiser, who sums it up nicely: “Hardly a day goes by that we don’t get calls from people who want to sell a big dining room set or bedroom suite because nobody in the family wants it. Millennials don’t want brown furniture, rocking chairs or silver-plated tea sets. Millennials don’t polish silver.”

You can read the Washington Post article here.