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Blog: The Simplified Home
Organizing Inherited Property OR Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?

Movies and TV shows have depicted the drama that comes from the emotional and complex job of dividing inherited items among family. Most families can tell stories about fights that have broken out over Mom's good china or Grandma's doll collection. Perhaps you have already experienced this madness and fighting, but hopefully you have been spared so far from this torture. I've experienced this twice in my family ~ one experience was a positive one of reflection and family bonding. The other however, was a nightmare. As a result of how personal property was divided in my in-laws family, family bonds were broken. A brother and sister haven't spoken in five years.
As we Baby Boomers age (me included), these issues will become increasingly prevalent and they deserve consideration in your family. In the past few years as a Professional Organizer, I have had increasing numbers of clients who call on me as an objective third party to help in these family transitions.
When a loved one passes away, it is not just the items in a Will that need to be dispersed, there is also the personal property as well. Estate Attorneys reveal that it typically isn't how the monetary assets are divided that causes conflict in families ~ it is the dividing of personal belongings that cause the emotional conflicts. Childhood and family memories are tied to these physical items. Unless the family is proactive in planning for this inevitable transition, conflict, misunderstandings and hurt can result. 
When I started working with families and seniors in transition, I found a wonderful book that helps families plan for this inevitable process. Written from a true story, the workbook "Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate" was researched and developed by the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Full of fill-in the blank forms and order of importance forms, the topics covered in this 83-page workbook are:
        The importance of recognizing the sensitivity of the issues
        Determining what you want to accomplish as a family
        Deciding what's fair to all involved family
        Understanding that belongings have different meanings to different people
        Distribution options and consequences
        Identifying that the family relationships are more important than stuff
        The importance of making agreements to manage conflicts if they arise
Some non-titled property that this workbook may help you to divide are china, collectibles, jewelry and family heirlooms. The workbook guides you and your family through the steps of developing a plan for the easiest and most painless way to divide everything, with the goal of preserving family bonds and remaining on speaking terms afterwards. This book is a great asset for any family who will be, or already is, in the emotional position of dividing personal property of a loved one.

posted on: 1/14/2009 11:07:53 AM by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie
category: Homes

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The Simplified Home

by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie

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About Janet:

Janet Nusbaum creates calm out of chaos, and loves bringing serenity and order to overwhelmed households, cluttered offices, frazzled parents, and transitioning seniors and families. Janet, President of Simplified Spaces & The Simplified Home, is an Organizing Consultant, Senior Move Manager, Author and Speaker.

She is the author of "Mom, Can I Help Around the House?" A Simple, Step-by-Step System for Teaching Your Children Life-Long Skills for Pitching-In & Picking-up".

She is a proud member: National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) & National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD)

Visit our blog - www.TheOrganizingGenie.com, and sign-up to receive our special report "SHELF LIFE OF 75 COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. Use this report to decide what to keep and what to toss ... then TAKE ACTION!!

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