Breaking News: fighting families fear friction following a death.
Inevitably, after someone dies there is the eventual question of how best to deal with their possessions. Whether the belongings are personal and sentimental, or worth some cold hard cash, the tension created by divvying them up is something even the closest families feel.
How do you avoid the bickering between siblings, children, or cousins who seem greedy and needy after the death of a family member?
Ask the Right Questions
When my grandpa died, my aunts were fighting tooth and nail over a few of his possessions. It was weeks after the funeral, burial, and memorial services, but our whole family was still reeling with the grief of our loss. We were slowly making our way through his house, sifting through documents and furniture and 50 years of accumulated STUFF. Though his larger assets were divided per his will, it was the small things that got his children in a tizzy. My aunts Carol and Silvia were both in tears one Tuesday over his old tool belt. Meanwhile, Shelly and Maggie were not speaking to each other because they both remembered separate occasions when their father had promised them the piano. Silvia wanted some of his artwork, but Shelly thought it should sold to help pay for the funeral bills. The small spats turned into full-blown tantrums after a few days cooped up in the old house.
Luckily, my sweet grandmother came on the scene just in time. Though she was burdened with her own sadness, she put her needs aside and asked the right questions for each coveted possession. “Carol, why do you want dad’s old tool belt? Silvia, what memories does it hold for you?” These ‘right’ questions led to a heart-felt discussion full of memories and sentimentality, and my aunts realized that they were arguing and fighting because they all had suffered a loss. Suddenly it became apparent who needed what belonging, because the greediness disappeared and the grief showed through—a feeling we all knew well.
We All Grieve Differently
Remember, we all grieve differently, and sometimes communicating with a grieving person requires a step back from the situation. Some people think that cleaning, clearing, and claiming the belongings of a loved one is disrespectful, and they want to wait until the grieving period has passed. Others immerse themselves in the responsibility of their tasks and duties, so getting it done, disinfected, and off to an estate sale is how they hide their emotions. For others, each item in a much-loved house is a fresh reminder of the loved one recently lost, and they may not feel capable of being much help in that process. Take into account how each of us face difficulties before you rush to judge or snap under the stress.
Solve Problems Before they Happen
Making estate plans before they are needed is the best way to solve problems before they happen. Preplanning for end of life means more than just buying a casket and reserving a plot, it means investing in insurance, drawing up a comprehensive will, and considering your sentimental possessions as well as liquid assets, property, and bills. If you are interested in pre-arranging for your final needs, please visit THIS LINK to view our affordable options for any budget.