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bequeathing personal possessions

(77 Posts)
Fennel Sun 12-May-19 16:53:50

Now well into my 80s I'm beginning to think about the personal possessions I'll bequeath to my 3 children.
Financially there should be a small amount for each of them, but I'm quite attached to my few personal things and would like them to by shared fairly.
Some paintings, old photos and letters, newspaper cuttings, jewellery (not valuable) etc.
Have others faced these decisions - what did you do?

maryhoffman37 Mon 13-May-19 10:15:03

I am executor to my sister's will. She is still alive but very incapacitated after a catastrophic stroke and in a nursing home. I have started to give away her small legacies of costume jewellery to family members as there is a list of 99 such small bequests. She is nearly 81 and will not wear any of these things again and it seems best to let people have the items early so that they can enjoy them. Do make a list but be aware that someone will be responsible for their dispersal.

Davida1968 Mon 13-May-19 10:19:18

Fennel, might you consider giving away some items on now? That way, you'll know they have reached your intended recipients. My dear late MiL, knew that for years I had admired and loved a pair of her ornaments. (Nothing costly, I just liked them.) A few years before she died, MiL kindly gave them to me, and I still value them. (Just as well she did, because after her death, DH's siblings cleared out MiL's house, without telling him....but that's another story.)

GrandmaJan Mon 13-May-19 10:24:07

I have possessions I want to go to specific relatives and these are listed in my will. My solicitor advised not just making a list because it’s not legally binding. Most of my jewellery is going to my daughter and she can give anything she doesn’t want to someone else. If you’re making a will it doesn’t cost any extra for adding any special wishes. I’ve also written some letters that will be distributed with my will.

4allweknow Mon 13-May-19 10:24:17

It's the sentimental stuff that I would want passed on but in reality most if it is sentimental to me and me only. I have a DIL who has inherited stuff from family members and quite honestly it should be in a skip but she took it as that was what 'Auntie wanted'. For me I will slowly dispose of all the stuff I think any family member may be interested in telling them they may as well have it now as they were going to get it anyway. If I have anything of value I will sell that and split between the family hopefully before I go thus saving any argument and need to add codicils to Will.

Pippa000 Mon 13-May-19 10:24:49

I have made a file which details of bank accounts, pension providers etc and any other information which I think they need to know after I cast of this mortal coil. I included in this a list of jewellery and other items that I would like to go to whom, but saying it is really up to them what they have.

sazz1 Mon 13-May-19 10:27:18

We are downsizing and moving soon so have asked our 3 AC to take anything they want now. There are a few exceptions like my le creuset pans lol. Seriously give now while you can ensure who wants what and control it. Too often relatives are bitter and jealous about the sharing of parents items

Venus Mon 13-May-19 10:30:45

I have left a Letter of Wishes with my will. What my two married sons decide to do will be beyond my control once I've passed. I hope that certain items will remain within the family.

Riggie Mon 13-May-19 10:34:48

Jewellery was an issue with my Mum. Because something her mum had promised to her was given to someone else. So she actually gave me most of her jewellery before she died - and borrowed pieces back if she wanted to wear them!!

jaylucy Mon 13-May-19 10:40:10

A lady I used to know, a few years before she went in a home and at the same time as updating her will, went round the house, sticking labels on items she wanted to pass on to people, often items they had admired in the past - apart from a particular clock - one of her relatives had admired it- in the next breath wondered how much it was worth - he didn't get it as anything left was sent to auction and the money donated to local charities and her beneficiaries!
To those with photos - please go through your albums and write on the back who the people are and when the photo was taken. If none of your family want them, maybe a local history group or your local council may have a county archive that will take them ?

Grammaretto Mon 13-May-19 10:41:00

Post-it stickers on the insides of furniture?
I'm having a clear out now this minute. I keep coming across menus from 1993, obituaries and unopened pairs of stockings!
You begin to wonder if you keep them forever, someone will want them but in reality they should go in the bucket.
My friend had been clearing his DFs flat for 2 years. He's still only halfway through.

lmm6 Mon 13-May-19 10:41:13

I've got some ornaments and jewellery that belonged to my mother and grandmother. When mum dies I doubt my children will want much of it (though I will ask) and then I intend to sell it and give the money to the charity MIND as my grandmother suffered from mental health problems.

Grandmabeach Mon 13-May-19 10:47:21

If you are wanting to leave specific items of jewelry to family/friends, I would suggest photographing each item, write on the back who it is intended for and leave with your will. MIL had careers for the last few weeks of her life and was so concerned about items being 'lost' that she hid jewelery then left a long list of who was to have each item. It took some time to work out who was meant to have what.

Apricity Mon 13-May-19 10:47:49

One of things I have realised sorting through my parent's things over several decades is that other people's holiday photos/movies are of zilch interest to anyone else. The only exceptions would be if particular people were in the photos or if the photos have some historical interest.

I have inherited miles/kilometres/hours of my parents's travel movies and photos including some that that I can't even view due to changes in technology. It has certainly made me think about what I do and keep and what I suspect my children will also have zilch interest in saving.

It has also made me realise that what I have valued as part of my life story and memories is not necessarily part of my children's lives or their story. Salutory lessons of age.

TerryM Mon 13-May-19 10:57:16

I am an only child and only have one child , a son .
Not much in the way of jewellery however if not wearing the jewellery I do have a small box .
This box also has gold cuff links from some distant Male relative which my son loves.
A few other bits and pieces from my mother and my grandmother
Great idea to take photos and that way he knows what there is jewellery wise
My husband and son are both aware my diamond earrings and marriage rings are not to be buried with me
Darn well cost too much lol

grannybuy Mon 13-May-19 11:06:09

One of my aunts gave me my late maternal grandmother's wedding ring, and a limited edition Doulton ornament while she was alive. I was touched, as she had no children of her own, and I was actually the second youngest of my grandmother's twelve GC. I think she knew that I would value them. My father's sister gave me her Coalport cottage while she was alive, because, apparently, I was the only family member who had ever 'recognised' what it was. I have given each DD a piece Moorcroft pottery now. They have different tastes in jewellery, so, hopefully will agree over it. One DD wants to inherit my two Kartell Masters chairs!

PamGeo Mon 13-May-19 11:19:33

My husbands granddad had made individual photo albums for his children and 5 grandchildren. It had lots of childhood photo's and memories that had obviously been favourites of his. No one knew he had done this until after his death and it was a lovely surprise for everyone, it saved trawling through the masses of photo's collected through the years but most importantly it let the family know how much he had cared and had enjoyed these moments with them. After working in a hospice for several years I have seen so many good and bad things with families that I think some forward planning is essential. I doubt I'll ever have anything of monetary value to pass on but I will be doing something similar for the memories and family history I do have, especially as I'm estranged from my daughter and her 2 young children .

Nonnie Mon 13-May-19 11:20:51

We have no family heirlooms which is a shame. I have written a Letter of Wishes in which I have said that I would like my good jewellery to become heirlooms and will leave it to them to decide. I have also started boxes for each one full of sentimental stuff and told them so whilst saying they can do what they like with it.

I have yet to solve the issue of telling them what is valuable and what is rubbish. I would hate them to get in house clearance people who would make them think the good things were worthless.

SillyNanny321 Mon 13-May-19 11:27:45

I only have my dragon collection which is not of great value but some my DS wants for himself. Everything else can be sold or binned depending on what DS thinks.
At least there will not be the problem we had with my DM possesions. She had stated in her will what she wanted to go to who. As my ratbag step brother made my DF move immediately & set about clearing everything we lost lots of DM's bits & pieces as he would not allow us anywhere near DD's home while he & his wife kept anything of value for themselves. We could have fought this but did not have the money to fight him or the strength having to prop DD up as he was shattered at losing our DM.
Sorry this has turned into a rant but is really just to say make sure everyone knows what your wishes are in advance!

Annaram1 Mon 13-May-19 11:41:44

Having gone (temporarily) mad after my lovely husband died I started buying jewellery from the television channel "The Jewellery Channel". I bought over 50 rings, several necklaces and a load of earrings, set in gold or silver. They all seemed to have such value at the time, rubies and emeralds and diamonds and a lot of beautiful unusual stones. All made by God and hidden in the earth in various countries, to be dug up and cut and polished and fashioned into wonderful jewellery, All very cheap on the Jewellery Channel. I am glad to say that I have now stopped looking otherwise I would be much poorer than I am now. I think my jewellery is beautiful.
Anyway I had my 2 grown up granddaughters visiting me last year and showed them my jewellery collection and invited them to take whatever they wanted. They each chose one very small ring. That is all!! When they and my daughter finally inherit them I do hope they can appreciate them.
I love being able to wear a different piece of jewellery every day, sometimes many.

Annaram1 Mon 13-May-19 11:44:32

SillyNan, I hate acronyms especially those not on the list.
What the heck is DF? Have you made it up?

SusieB50 Mon 13-May-19 11:47:17

Doing this right now with my late mother's stuff . Fortunately there have been no disagreements over items . . My mother had a note in her jewellery box stating that the two granddaughters were to have the only two valuable items a gold chain necklace and her mother's ring . She wore those constantly so the girls are very touched . The rest my sister and I chose what we wanted along with my DDiL and some pieces will be sold .The sorting is taking ages as my parents didn't throw much out ! ( note to self de clutter now ! ) We will probably end up having to have a house clearance as no-one has room for much furniture . I have been designated the photo curator 🙄

Niucla97 Mon 13-May-19 11:57:21

My hairdresser was joking about something similar . She had asked her son to come and help her prepare a bedroom to be decorated. Next thing she knew a skip was outside under the window and her son was throwing things into it!!

She said you know when I die this is probably what will happen - my son and his wife are not interested in anything that I have so they will probably hire a skip and dispose of everything!! Daunting thought quite the opposite of one man's rubbish is another man's treasure.

I think it is a good idea to give it to the person while you are alive at least you see them having pleasure from the object.

Sueki44 Mon 13-May-19 12:48:26

I agree Niuncla , let people enjoy things whilst you can see their pleasure! Another point : both my Godmother and Mil had dementia and before they went into care homes a whole procession of carers, helpers, cleaners etc passed through their homes. Lots of valuable jewellery disappeared from both homes. My suspicions were aroused when I unexpectedly visited my Godmother and her youngish cleaner turned up with her mother in tow! Needless to say they made a speedy departure when they saw we were there.
Unfortunately she had no family and we lived over 250 miles away. Give things away sooner rather than later.

TLVgran48 Mon 13-May-19 13:16:31

Clearing up her mother's house, a friend of mine found a trove of several hundreds of beautiful photos from the 1890s on - but none of them had a name/s on the back. She knew nothing about anyone, so sad for all that history to vanish. I'm starting to write info on the back of framed family pics. And (more cheerfully) a cousin of mine took a huge pile of albums and loose photos to be scanned by a camera/photography shop. For the equivalent of 400 pounds, she now has them on the cloud, after adding names and details - and hopes someone in the next generation will love to look at them.

fluttERBY123 Mon 13-May-19 13:27:17

We have a few heirlooms (back of cupboard stuff) of little monetary but great sentimental value. I have started quietly slipping some of it to those to whom it seems most appropriate. Other things I want to keep with me I intend to label.

I have asked dd if here is any china she wants from considerable collection but I can see she is not interested. Stuff like tiny Chinese porcelain coffee cups, thimble sized - look nice in dresser but completely useless. A wedding present, I love them. Suspect they will be flogged off but I won't be here to see it.

So agree with Lovetopaint037, give away before you die. It's a great relief to feel I am no longer responsible for Grandpa's WWI medals.