By 2030, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. Many of them will begin to move into smaller homes, assisted living or retirement villages. While married or raising children, the estates were large enough for multiple rooms of fine furniture, inherited and purchased households goods and family mementos.

 

 

Generational differences in household needs

In the past, Lennox china tea sets, silver cutlery, engraved serving dishes and crystal glassware were used consistently for entertaining. Many people had one or more household servants to polish silver and clean china by hand.

The fancy dishware and household knick-knacks also established a person’s place in society and were considered part of proper furnishings for a home. Wedding gifts included a couple’s first set of formal china.

These days, many young people live in smaller homes or apartments. They are also used to trend-setting disposable furniture from IKEA or Target. When people move, they don’t always go the trouble of taking household goods and instead donate them or throw them out.

Still others are enticed by minimalist and environmentally-friendly movements and choose not to own a lot of “stuff.”

Senior move management a growing phenomenon

A whole industry has sprung up to help seniors who are downsizing a quantifiable estate. Rather than simply moving stuff, these companies help organize, distribute and even sell-off family heirlooms and estate items.

Known as senior move managers, they help a person sort through possessions. From there, the individuals make decisions about what to dispose of, what to donate to charity and what will go with them to a much smaller home.

Family members who wish to take mementos can choose what they want and leave the rest. Remaining items, often heirloom antiques, will be sold at auction. Senior move managers are seeing an increase in these types of liquidations.

For all other estate needs, such as trusts, estate planning, probate and managing probate, you may wish to consult with a family law attorney that focuses on these areas of the law.