Fourth Thursdays with Deb J ~ Get your affairs in order

Deb J

Deb J

It has been almost 5 years since we moved to Arizona. I have been putting off the hassle of updating all the legal paperwork like the wills, etc. I know I should have done it sooner but can admit that what we have would work in a pinch. I also have to admit that it would be more of a hassle for those left to deal with it if I had left things as they were.

I have been updating everything and creating a set of instructions for those who will be our executors if both of us go together or at such time as the other is gone when one dies. It’s much more of a hassle than any of us want to deal with but deal with it we must.

What does this have to do with decluttering? Believe it or not decluttering really makes a difference. Here are some of those differences:

  1. The less you have left the less the survivor(s) has to deal with.
  2. If more than one person inherits you have to indicate what each is to receive.
  3. The majority of your estate may go to one survivor but there may be individual items or small groups of things you want to go to a special friend or group.
  4. If there are no survivors, your executor will have to know how to distribute your estate.

As you all know, Mom and I have been slowly decluttering. Something that really opened Mom’s eyes to a good reason for decluttering was my delving into updating all of the legal paperwork. She suddenly began to look at all of those things we had stashed away in the cupboards and closets and sheds with a new outlook. If we were gone, did this item mean enough to pass along? If so, who should get it? What did my only sibling really want and what would just be a burden to him? Did any of the items have real worth as far as selling them? If so, did we want the money to use now or should we let the item sit so the survivor would have it? Did we have anything that other relatives would want if my brother didn’t? There were many questions we asked.

We went through my late father’s items that had been in a box for these 20 years since he passed on and just mailed my brother two small boxes of items. Now we are waiting to hear if there is anything he wants of my mother’s when she is gone.

Maybe you are young and you think you don’t need to really consider these questions. Yesterday a 26 year old man we know had a massive heart attack and is in a coma. Two weeks ago a 32 year old man we know was killed in a car accident. We never know when we will be gone. Everyone not only needs a will but we need to have only those things that are important and needful in our home because we never know when someone else will have to clean up after us.

When I talked to two people about being Executors for our wills I showed them what I have as instructions for them. They were shocked I had covered everything so well. They were also excited that there was not much for them to do because we had it all done for them, especially after I explained all the decluttering we had done.

Today’s Mini Mission

Like kitchen utensils I found that baking pans and trays were another thing that accumulated over the years. Cookie trays, loaf pans, muffin pans, cupcake pans, square tins, round tins, spring form pans… you name it I had usually more than one of them. These things came in much more handy when the kids were still at home but even then a cake tastes much the same whether it was round, square or made in a spring form pan. Yes, if you bake a lot or are particular about these things the thought of living with less of them would be unthinkable. However I am not Martha Stewart and at my age the less cake, cookies and tarts that are around my house the better. We tend to only indulge when we go out for a coffee. That is not to say I have gotten rid of them all but there are certainly fewer now than there once was. Do you have a greater quantity or more variety in the way of baking pans than you truly have aspirations to use? Then perhaps it is time to let go of a few.

Eco Tip for the Day

Use the stairs rather than the elevator. This of course has the added bonus of a little impromptu exercise.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
  • Thursdays with Deb J ~ Attachments I have never been very sentimental toward things. I have had a few collections over the years and they kept mostly because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who had given them […]
  • Thursdays with Deb J ~ Leaving My Comfort Zone All of us have varying comfort zones. There are just some items, people, ideas, and/or places that mean home to us. That doesn’t mean that home can’t be moved but when that happens there […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Deb J, you are spot-on with this post. A family member recently passed and fortunately, everything was set out very clearly. One thing that was an issue was that no Medical Power of Attorney had been signed and that caused a little bit of a headache. I checked my documents when I got back and I see that I should update my will and hubby and I need to get Medical POAs.

    But, back to your decluttering references: I agree. Is this item something that someone would want or need? We don’t have children and sometimes I have to stop myself from making a purchase. Maybe I would like the item for a period of time, but do I want to clutter up my house and then there is no one to enjoy it after I’m gone? I’m probably not writing this very well – kind of scatter-brained today. I’ve reached the point where I really, really have to love something in order to bring it into the house, especially since I’ve been getting rid of so much clutter over the past several months.

    I believe Colleen has made references to Peter Walsh. On his old show it seemed a lot of people had inherited stuff and then never addressed the stuff and so there were HUGE piles of stuff everywhere!! My mom has so many books and knick-knacks and artwork. She is slowly giving things to people now that she knows they would want. I’m not exactly sure where we’ll put them, but when we go visit her next month, we’ll be bring back a series of Western books. I do want them, so I’d better find an appropriate spot for them. 🙂

    • Michelle, it was the loss of my father that made me realize that we needed to start doing something about the huge accumulation of Stuff that he and Mom had. I’m in the process of that household inventory I mentioned in a comment a week ago or so. We still have too much in my opinion.

  2. Calico ginger :

    Can I second Deb J on this and add that if you have responsibility for an older person’s well being, to get both financial and personal care powers of attorney set up well in advance of them being needed. And with my mum having financial interests in two countries it turned out I needed two sets – one for NZ and one for New South Wales. But it really is a great peace of mind to know they are there. As I am an only child, the process was straight forward but it might be more problematic for those with siblings, which is another reason to do it ASAP when a parent can still clearly make their ultimate wishes known.

    • Thanks Calico Ginger. I feel sorry for the executor if something happens to me before Mom passes. They will have to help her sell the house, move, and change the names and stuff on numerous things. I hate that. But we have it in better shape than it was when I had to take over when Dad died. I’m still working on things so that maybe by the time something happens we will have everything in better shape.

  3. A few years ago, when I was ill and it was not certain of the outcome, my husband and I met with our financial advisor to see what we needed to do in case I died. We each prepared a will, a revocable trust with our children as executors, durable powers of atty and advanced medical directives. I have to say, it was hard to contemplate dying but leaving all our assets to the courts to handle was inconceivable. Two years ago, we did some updates and took our son with us to meet with our advisor and to explain what each of these documents meant to him and to our daughter. He was happy to know that we had done all this and once we were gone, there was little he would have to do other than distribute the assets to the family and/or follow our medical decisions.
    The next thing we need to do is set aside funds for burial so that will be done and there is nothing but finalizing all the plans we have made. I’m not ready to make the burial plans yet but I know that day will come. My dad did this for his wife and the family just had to follow the funeral home’s direction. Dad had paid for everything ahead of time and that made it much less stressful for the family.
    I still have lots of decluttering to do but reading about Moni’s and Deb J’s work has helped me understand that my kids will not want all the things that are important to me. I know we tossed/donated so much of my mother in law’s things after she died and I want to make those decisions myself, not have someone come in and start tossing without realizing the value. I really appreciate hearing from all the writers to this site and have learned a lot in deciding what to keep and what to donate. Thanks to everyone and a special note to Hope. There is hope and decluttering one item a day does make a difference. While I still can’t see a lot of change, I know that I am making progress and you will see it, too. I could really relate to what you said about all the different things you had tried – 15 min at a time, reading the “right” book, sorting and resorting and not seeing a change. All these things really drain you and I, too, work full-time at nearly 67 years old and am tired when I get home. But one thing leads to another and before long, you do see progress. Hang in there, Hope, and stay with us on this website. You will get lots of support and caring from everyone here. We’re on your side and really understand how hard it is to make changes. Sorry this is so long but I had a lot to say today.

    • Maggie, I’m glad that you have been helped by the things you read here. That’s what Colleen’s blog is here for. Being able to get all of our legal paperwork done again has sure been a big help. I am excited to have it done. One thing that is really good is that I have it all on a disc too so can update it, print it out and go sign it in front of a notary without having to go through so much hassle. Love that.

      • Deb J – you’ve just triggered a thought in me that keeps occuring to me but I haven’t done anything about. I have been thinking that I probably need to organise either a duplicate hard drive (but where to leave it?) or do an iCloud data storage. Photos and videos too. Contents insurance inventory too.

        I live on the coast facing the Pacific ocean. Very pretty coast but an earthquake as far away as Japan triggers a tsunami warning for us. So far – touch wood – no tsunamis but it is constantly monitored for which I am grateful. But if a disaster was to strike – heck, it could be a fire, tornado, earthquake etc – it would be a very good idea to have a copy of wills (which has the lawyers contact details on the back) in safe second location.

        I will have to give this some thought – an iCloud sounds sensible and accessible from elsewhere, but Adrian probably would forget it existed, let alone passwords etc. A second hard drive would be easy but keeping it up to date could be a hassle, especially if it stored in another town. I will have to ask around for ideas.

        • Moni, I have our original wills in a fire proof lock box. I have a copy on a disc that will be going to a friend. Plus the two executors have copies. I think I have it taken care of. But I agree that you need to have backups. Not only does everyone need a will but everyone also needs to have someone designated to be executor just in case something happens. If I was the only executor for Mom and she for me then if we both went together there would be a lot of problems. So we have backups. They have a copy of everything and keys to the house and the lock box.

    • Maggie – I’m glad you’ve been helped, Colleen’s blog has been a huge influence in my journey. Yes, I would hate to leave a mess for my kids to sort thru, I’d rather they remembered the good stuff and not the final burden. Hopefully I’ve got a long innings left in me!

  4. Great post. When my last parent died, it was a mess. Do people a favor and don’t leave your junk for them to deal with.

    • Marianne – one of my daughter’s friends (a 16 year old) his estranged father died (lived on the opposite of the country) and as this boy was his only living relative this all fell to him to sort out. And the house was full too. What a burden.

      • This is what scares me. No 16 year old is ready for handling something like that. That means he has to find someone else to help. Will he find the right kind of person who is trustworthy? I know that in the case of the young man yo mention that his mother helped but in many cases things might be different.

        • Deb J – yes he has a mother but she also had no or little family so it was just the pair of them and as it was at the other end of the country, they couldn’t call on friends or school mates to help. I didn’t get the impression that there was provision for much in the way of outside help either. What is sad is that the estranged father knew his time was short and didn’t make plans or provision himself or even make contact with the boy and his mum prior.
          When my daughter came home with the story – her friend had been missing from school about a month, and wasn’t replying to Facebook or texts and when she asked the school they couldn’t give details but could say that they were aware of his situation. Eventually he re-surfaced. She came home and told me the story and I showed her where the wills are kept and all the other relevant info. Once the new wills are written I will show her those too.

          • That’s really sad. My father didn’t want to tell me anything about where they stood financially. So when he died the fallout was horrendous. They owed huge sums of money and his life insurance was only worth 1/2 what he thought and on and on. My brother didn’t even come to the funeral and my mom told me it was all mine to handle. So I had a doozy of a time getting it all taken care of and spent 10 years paying off their bills.

        • Deb J – I’m sorry to hear that, and wow, honoring your father’s debts even though it took 10 years. Something similar happened to a distant relative, everything was in her husband’s name and he took care of all the money matters. He’d found out he was terminal, and so cashed in life policy and off they went travelling for a year or so. After he passed, she discovered the money was all gone and nothing to cover the mortgage, bill, let alone live on, whereas he’d always told her that it was all taken care of. The cash in value was a fraction of what the pay out amount – I’m not begrudging him deciding to enjoy his last year but I felt that it should have been a joint decision even though it was all in his name. Turns out even the bank account was in his name only and so she also had the rigmarole of opening a bank account and had a huge stressful learning curve about managing her own affairs.

          • Moni, I feel sorry for the distant relative. That would be heartbreaking. Dad didn’t do anything like that but they did have bills like you wouldn’t believe. And Mom goes into anxiety attacks when it comes to money so she had no idea things were that bad. Of course, I didn’t either. A rather rude awakening.

  5. Deb J – this is an amazing coincidence because last week I photocopied our wills and we wrote notes on what needed to be updated and yesterday I e-mailed them off to my lawyer. As my kids are now aged 18, 16 and 15 my will need to be updated again in two years when the next one reaches legal “adulthood” and again when the youngest does too. What responsibilities my 18 year is prepared to accept at this stage and what he doesn’t feel ready for will change by time he is 20 and then 21.

    It will cost a bit of money to get these done, but to not have an up to date will leaves so much burden on the surviving family members. Waaaay back in the day, I did my office junior year in a law office and it creates more paper work, a longer time before the courts sign off, more time with the lawyers which equals a much bigger bill. Quite often there are still expenses being generated by the estate in the meantime that the family has to foot or deal with further legal problems. The family can’t move on and often it created difficulties and financial burdens for them.

    I would liken it to the equivalent of discovering that your deceased relative was a hoarder and an entire house was full of tonnes clutter that everyone else in the family was expecting you to sell every single item to help cover expenses, taxes etc rather than just dumping the lot. Legal clutter is just as encompassing as physical clutter.

    • Moni, I am glad you are keeping things updated like you are. I was talking to my parents one day when I was around 40 and learned that their will was still the one that had been done when I was a teenager. So I got everything together and had the lawyer sign off on it. Two months later my father died. I am so thankful that God nudged me to get all the legal stuff done. I had enough of a mess without having to deal with that too.

      • Deb J – that was so fortunate. I wouldn’t have a clue if my parent’s wills were up to date or even who their lawyers are, they live far away and aren’t really the sort to discuss money matters.

        • Hey Moni, I feel the same with my parents and their reluctance to discuss financials. It must be bred into them from many generations of ‘don’t tell anyone your private business’. Let’s face it when you die you have nothing to worry about, it’s the ones you left behind that can’t grieve or move on because they have become burdened with whatever is left undone.

          It will be 3yrs this August since the passing of my Dad, when it happened it was a shock but that was quickly replaced with having to organise a funeral and sort through stuff very fast, it took ages to sort insurance and bank accounts and so on and so forth. He hadn’t updated anything and my Mum really had no idea about anything paperwork wise. This made the whole ordeal a nightmare bang in the middle or trying to come to terms with loss.

          Please please please, tell your kids whatever they need to know, and spell it all out every single thing no matter how trivial you may think it is. Also make your kids aware that it is not only you that may pass, yes it is a touchy subject, but lets be real, we are all here on borrowed time. As soon as our finance broker has done all our bits and bobs, our son is going in to do his will etc etc. I hope nothing happens to any of us for a long long time but I am a realist, it never prepared me for having to deal with fallout, but having done it I can honestly say, in the event of something awful happening in the near future, I pretty much have it in hand.

          The bottom line of this is those we leave behind will only have to come in and deal with the here and now ‘stuff’ not rooms, and boxes, and drawers full of junk, or sheds full of everything but worthwhile items, and a little bit of paperwork to seal the whole affair. AMEN to being organised and de-cluttered!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Great post, Deb J. It is hard to think about those things but necessary, so very necessary. We do not know what the future holds, nor are we promised tomorrow, so while we can, we should take time to set plans. When my father passed, I did know that he had already paid on his funeral and some for my mother when she would pass. He would not discuss finances with me, I guess he had an old fashioned mindset and did not feel that I needed to know those things. We did need to sell their property because my mother never drove a car and could not stay by herself for a long period of time. They did not have a lot and most of what they did own, was in poor condition and was not really something that could be resold or reused. There was not a lot to deal with and when my mother passed, my brother took care of most of it. I was very fortunate. I ask myself many times when I am dealing with my “stuff”, and contemplating getting rid of things, would someone really want this when I am gone? The answer is usually, “no”. Let’s face it, unless who have very special mementos or other special items, the majority of our things are only special to us personally and probably have little monetary value. They were bought because we liked them, not thinking if others would care to have them. I have few things that I truly feel would be cherished by anyone left here after me. Most of those things are photos and I hope to leave one day to my children, a written family history. I hear way too many times, that when people have to go through a loved one’s items, many things just get tossed because the task is overwhelming due to the volume there is, and there is not time or energy to deal with it.

    Last year I was the recipient of a box of mementos that belonged to an uncle that I never met. I spent time with his wife but when she passed away, her things were left to her nephew because they had no children. I was so happy to get those items because I learned so much about my uncle. It included photos and records about him. There was so much history there. I shared that with my brother and we learned so much. Had it not been for her nephew noticing letters and cards that I had sent and asking if I would want them, I don’t know what would have happened to them. He was just happy to find a relative to give them too. I was happy too, but most people would not have taken the time, nor had the time to do such things.

    I agree with Maggie’s sentiments concerning this site, it has helped me so much. Several years ago, I felt the need to do a major cleanout. My kids were young then, so mostly it was getting rid of things that they no longer needed. I didn’t know why I felt the need to do a cleanout, but I did. I found out a couple of months later that I would be moving. It may seem weird to others, but I don’t feel like I found this site by coincidence. I knew that I was ready to change and the cleanout this time would be different. To me, my previous cleanout was different than the decluttering I am doing now of useless or unloved items. My mindset is different, how I view material things is different and my overall purpose is different. That being said, we never know what lies ahead for each of us.

    • Jen, that is so neat that you were given those mementos from your uncle. I had an aunt who while she was alive kept an ear open to when people commented on things in her house. When she died she had written a list of things to give to various people who had really liked a particular picture or other item. The rest was auctioned off to anyone in the family who wanted it and then what was left was sold. I thought it was nice that she was that aware of peoples likes and that she honored them. It gave us all something to relate to her.

      I feel like you do about it not being a coincidence that I found this blog. My entire outlook on things and even life has been changed by the challenges brought in the blog posts.

      I’m glad you liked this post. I am still amazed at how many people don’t have a will and have no thought to what those who come after them will have to deal with. I’m trying to get the word out to all of those around me.

  7. I agree 100% with you Deb J. Getting ones affairs in order is so important as well as simply discussing what is to happen with at least two other people. Assume nothing and don’t be afraid to ask questions is my advice to my friends who still have living parents.
    Moni lives on the coast and has warning systems for Tsunamis. Everyone knows the devastation a tsunami can bring after the Boxing Day Tsunami a few years ago. The effects of the death of a loved one and dealing with their stuff is just as devastating. Taking steps to minimize any damage is not as easy as it sounds. Wills are powerful tools and can leave families devastated.
    So next time the family gets together, take an hour to sort out locations of wills etc and wishes of every member of the family, from the 18 year old, to the 80 year old. Take notes, talk about it regularly. Discuss funeral plans and wishes. Don’t be afraid.
    Cheers

    • Wendy F – you have just made me realise that my 18 year old son will need one too. As he is a “it will never happen to me” kind of guy, this could take some work!

    • Wendy F, I’m glad you agree. Most of you know that the state of Oklahoma here in the US just had a devastating tornado. Last I heard there were 29 dead and 200 families homeless. If that doesn’t make you think about wills and disaster planning I don’t know what will. I’m in the process of making a new household inventory in order to have something to show the insurance company in case of a disaster. It’s a tedious task but oh so needful. One more thing we all would rather just ignore but shouldn’t.

  8. If you don’t mind me asking…..what do you think is a reasonable amount of time to clear out the wardrobe of a loved one? As the topic of wills etc came up last year with my daughter, I said to take whatever you want but clear out my wardrobe within a couple of weeks, I’m all for sooner rather than later. She wasn’t sure if that was a bit soon, but agrees that it shouldn’t stretch on for a long time afterwards otherwise it would be dragging it out, but whatever I wrote down she would do. I’m not planning to die any time soon and as a Project 333 gal, it wouldn’t be a huge task. What do you think is a reasonable amount of time to clear out possessions and clothes? I know someone who has kept everything in the wardrobe for 12+ years. But that is a bit extreme. I think it is better to get it over and done with during the initial sadness, but obviously I have my daughters feelings to consider.

    • Hi Moni, sometimes we have no choice in the matter for various reasons. Realistically , a person would only have items of clothing that they wear on a daily basis in their wardrobe. So I would feel cleaning out the wardrobe would go under the same category as food in the fridge, or medications, unless you can use it , dispose of it. After all it is just stuff.
      When a death occurs you find out just how much people get attached to stuff. If you like something that someone has, tell them. Maybe they would love to give it to you now; you get the joy of receiving it and they get the joy of giving it to you.
      PS. Moni, my kids don’t have wills either.

    • Moni, personally I think it’s better to accustom outwardly to the new situation, as I think it will help me through mourning. However, people are different handling things like that. I am someone who paints her walls new after a break-up. I like a new start, so I think I would get rid of clothes and other personal items very soon. (or include them into my own wardrobe, if I want to). I also feel that I rather want to remember the person from within me rather than being forced to remember by my surroundings (if that makes sense). I already thought about whether it would help people if you put aside specific little things for them in your will (like: a specific book or CD or a fancy hat or whatever), but though I do believe that they would be comforted by getting a personal “present” from the deceased, I also think that they would feel strong strings attached to these items and that they would be hard to declutter later on. However it would maybe keep these strings to that one item and help preventing people feeling attached to every single thing their loved one once owned.

      Ultimately, I think it’s hard to know these things in advance.

    • Moni, this is such a great question. The answer is “I don’t know.” The reason I say that is because every person processes grief differently. While some, like my Mom, give them away right away there are others who can’t do that. It takes them awhile. The thing I do know is that 12 years is too long. In that case the person seems to need counseling to learn how to process their grief. Maybe you are better off telling your daughter that you don’t want her to keep things too long but you want her to be comfortable with it when she does. I’m not a very sentimental person. Like Sanna I don’t need things to remember someone by. But there are others who get comfort from items they connect with loved ones. This is where a good talk with family comes in so that you can find out how they feel about things. Too often we are afraid to talk about our death and the inevitability of it. It’s one of those things where we have to “bite the bullet” and do it anyway. I also think that every family should have a talk about financial things. You don’t have to go into detail but you do need to tell you family if you have a will and where it is, what financial things you have in place (like insurance, etc) and who needs to be ready to have to deal with it all when the time comes. When you have just been hit with the death of someone is NOT the time you should have to get hit will all of this too.

  9. Deb J, what a good topic, and great post. It has also generated very helpful and sobering comments. We need to do this, for the same reason that we need to keep decluttering. It’s good to be reminded.

  10. I’ve been nagging my husband about this for years, and we’re finally doing it next week! Wills and Power of Attorneys. The biggest sticking point has been with whom to leave the kids (12 and 10 currently) in event of an accident: my sister would have been first choice but she now lives overseas. We will have to ask his brother and family (who at least live in the same state!); such a horrible thing to think about, but completely necessary.

    After having to deal with my parents’ massive amounts of stuff when I sold their house, I’m not leaving any crap behind! My father kept every piece of paper imaginable, except the Title of the house, so my sister and I had to pay over $1000 for a new one. Ridiculous waste of money and such a hassle when there are so many other things to deal with!

    • Loretta, I am so glad you are getting this done. Yes, it is horrible to have to think of who to take the children but you sure don’t want to leave it to the government. That just makes you shudder. I think everyone should get online and look up the paperwork they need to keep for everything and get rid of the rest. People just need to think ahead about what is needed when they die. We don’t like to talk about death but it is inevitable and we need to deal with it.

  11. Hi Deb J, great post as usual. It is great that I have contributors in a variety of periods of life. Your situation is different to mine, both of our situations are different to Cindy’s. Moni, who does the occasional guest post is in a period between Cindy and I. And then there are the readers who have their own life stages to give there advice from.

    I have to confess though that although I have mentioned more than once on the blog that it is time I updated my will, I still haven’t. Naughty me.

    Although there are many wonderful and probably valuable items in both my parents and my in-laws homes I have no desire to receive any of it. My only hope is that they do as you suggest and get things in order so that dealing with their possessions once they have passed is not a huge ordeal. The only thing I will miss when they are gone is them.

    • Colleen, get to that will. It needs to be done. AND, your kids need to do one too. Isn’t that a scary thought?! But they are now out on their own and it is time.

      Like you the only thing I care about having is the memories of my Mom. I don’t need things to remember her by. I have 60 years of memories that will not go away.

  12. Excellent post!

    I know I’ve mentioned here before that I grew up on a farm. My parents saved EVERYTHING. My father died two years ago, and my mother will turn 80 soon.

    She watched a couple of episodes of “Hoarders”, and it gave her a bit of a nudge to start decluttering, but there is just SO MUCH STUFF, and at this point, it’s hard for her to make a lot of progress.

    She still has a lot of stuff at her house that belonged to my grandmother and my aunt who passed away years ago.

    When my mother is gone, we’re going to have a HUGE job to do. Not only is there a farmhouse stuffed to the gills with stuff, but there are barns and outbuildings that will need to be emptied before the land can be sold.

    I can’t put into words how much I dread facing this task.

    My husband is another one who collects lots of stuff and finds it hard to declutter, and I constantly try to encourage him to “lighten the load” so that our children won’t have to deal with a big mess when we’re gone.

    • Becky, I have a friend who is going through this right now. Her father passed on a little over a year ago and her mother is still dealing with a farm that is chuck full of stuff. Her Mom moved into a house in town because she can’t keep up with the farm and now they are trying to go through everything and sell it or whatever needs to be done. It’s a huge undertaking. I would suggest that you and your siblings help your mom go through things and get rid of them. If you do it a little at a time it will be easier and also mean you won’t have to do it when you are reeling from her passing.

    • Your story is always worth a second mention Becky as it may inspire others to reduce and keep a rein on their stuff. I will post this comment again next Friday for those how don’t read the comments or might need an extra gentle nudge.

      • My husband and I watched a bit of the Hoarders the other week and he made a comment that my craftroom looks like that! It’s not that bad but I can see where he is coming from and it certainly made me sit up and think. Yes I am going to do a lot of sorting and decluttering next week,

        • Denise ~ Nothing like a little wake up call from those closest to you. Good luck with the mission next week. All going to plan I will be working in unison with you.

        • Denise, that’s good. I never realized how cluttered mine was because it was all nicely put away in multiples of storage furniture. Now the craft room looks so much better.

  13. Dealing with last will and inheritance is dealing with your own muribundity… For sure we don’t like that idea. As we are close (very close… only 1 week to go) to our wedding we decided to face this topic. As we inlcuded something which is called “Patientenverfügung” –> which is a German document to declare what medical treatment you’d like and what not in case you are not able to decide and to communicate it.
    In addition we will sign marriage contract.
    It’s not that we do not believe in love, but statistics speak a clear language.
    The idea of breaking love is bad enough and I do not want to “crown” it with conflict about belongings of clutter…

    • Chrissie, it is good that you are doing this at the beginning of your marriage. Too many times people don’t and that can be disasterous. I’m not sure why people think they don’t need to do this until they have kids or are old. We too have the medical paper filed. We have a financial ones we are going to do too. Not a marriage one since we are Mom and daughter but one that gives us each power of attorney if the other can no longer do for themself.

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