If you are in your golden years it may be time to start thinking about estate planning and who is going to receive your beloved treasures and the bulk of your wealth when you are gone. Estate planning gifting in reality is a must for every adult; no matter you age because in the end we are all mortal there is nothing certain save death and taxes. Here are some things to know about both.
Make sure everything, no matter how trivial, ends up in your will. Take an inventory of all items, regardless of value, and make sure they have named homes. This will keep your family from fighting over the treasured heirlooms you leave behind, and keep your kid’s talking to each other after you are gone. My father managed to rock paper scissors win a golden glass (which originally came in a box of soap from the nineteen thirties), he and his brothers had been fighting over this stupid cup they used for thanksgiving every since my father was five, literally, and though my uncles took his win fairly graciously, my grandmother would have felt awful about them cheating each other out of it. I think it is worth about fifteen dollars in an antique store, but it meant more to each of them than her house did.
Did you that know if you end up in a state long term care facility for over a certain amount of time that the government can seize your house when you die? Take this into account as you are estate planning and gifting, because it’s true and almost happened to my mother’s mother. If she hadn’t signed the deed over to my aunt before she got ill, they would have gotten the whole house, the house her father built with his own hands when he came over from England after world war two. Look into current laws in your state about that sort of thing, and make sure you have a plan for keeping the government out of your house, because “daddy Burt” would still be haunting my mother and aunt if the government had gotten his house. Another thing you can do in your older years is purchase long term care insurance, because no one’s loved ones should end up in a state run home, those places are just terrible!
The Little Things
As I mentioned with the “Golden Goblet” above, your kids will be arguing over the dumbest stuff. As you do your estate planning, gifting to each of your children as you see fit is not only your prerogative but your responsibility. If you have a son who takes you into his home when you are unable to care for yourself, and gives tons of his money and time to your care, remember him kinder that your party girl daughter who saw you twice a year. Relatives like that are not going to appreciate the special items that you treasured in your life, they are likely to end up on EBay, breaking your family’s heart in the process.