A big part of my job is making sure that wills, trusts and estate plans function like they’re supposed to for our clients. So when my own parents asked me recently to review their will, I was happy to help. Although I didn’t find anything technically wrong, something really bothered me. They wanted all the personal items in their Michigan home — a place they had lived for 70 years — to go to the descendants who were there to help clean out the house. No problem for my five siblings, who all live nearby. But big problem for me, out here in Washington State. While my parents didn’t want me to feel left out, they just didn’t know a better way to handle this.
Help came in the form of this New York Times article, which presents many different approaches, including new online tools, for deciding who gets which items in a way that’s fair for everyone involved. We found this very useful, and I think many other families will too.