Thanksgiving may be the time to begin a family discussion about favorite family items and wishes for the future. The holidays may be a time for thanks and reflection, but it may also be a time to ask your father to consider leaving you his favorite t-shirt or his service medals to avoid a family rift in the future.
Your “stuff” may come with various memories and emotions that will differ among your family members. Disharmony among adult siblings often comes at emotional times, such as the loss of a parent or the downsizing of your family home.
My client “Maria” (not her real name) lost her father. She and her brothers never had a close relationship during dad’s life, but it went haywire following his passing, all over a lawnmower.
“Wendy,” the neighborhood gossip, witnessed Maria’s brother taking items out of the garage late one night and abruptly called Maria. Maria then began fighting with her brothers over the mower! While many people may like lawnmowers, for some reason, it touched a nerve in my client, and she wanted that one! This family also fought over a book and other “cherished” items.
The push and grab over “stuff” sometimes happens to the best families out of grief, frustration, or resentment following a parent’s passing.
While my clients often prepare a list of assets such as homes, bank accounts, and investment accounts to pass to their heirs, what is usually missing are the personal items that, while not expensive, are priceless for their sentimental value. Often these items will cause big family fights between children who feel there was not a fair division of these assets.
If your goal is family harmony, it could be a huge blunder to fail to consider the emotional ties children may have to their parent’s possessions.
I have several ways to remedy this potential disaster. You can read my article here, published this month in Our City magazines.