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The Inheritance Tax

So you’ve inherited family items. Now what?

There are a lot of people struggling with an abundance of “stuff” that belonged to someone else at one time. These items were given in love, with the best of all intentions, but at some point this token of love has become a taxation of stress. What do you do with things that you either did not ask for, or no longer need/want. How long is the statute of limitations on guilt storage? Do you have to keep everything? I mean, they gave it to you. They wanted you to have it - but did they want you to own it???? Because, if you are the owner, then you make the decision on what to do with it.

So let’s decide this question right now. Are you an owner or are you a landlord for a rent-free storage facility? If you are an owner, then keep reading. If not. Well . . . Good luck with that, Mr. Landord.

Alrighty, owners, let’s think this through. What are the treasures? (Sometimes there are legitimate treasures in inherited items. You may want to hire the services of an appraiser and an auction might be in order.) For everything else, though, what is valuable simply on a personal level?


Let’s go to the neighborhood of make believe for a moment. Along with the pile of stuff you have inherited, what if your loved one left a note that said, “There are five hidden treasures in this pile. Find them.” What would you look for? (Again, assuming that this is a personal, not a monetary treasure.) I am proposing that in the end, you would be searching for things that spark a warm memory. Look for the things tied to the experiences you shared. Did you bake with your grandma and she let you stir with her wooden spoon? Keep the spoon. Did you always play cards with your uncle? Keep the cards. Let the costume jewelry or neck ties go, if you rarely saw them worn. Take pictures of these other things, if you want to remember them (but not necessarily store them). If being a landlord for a rent-free storage facility is taxing you, ask yourself if you think your loved one wanted to add stress to your life. I’m betting they did not. Let go of the stress. Keep the experiences, after all, they are yours. You own them.

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