Frazer Blog

Dos and Don’ts of Dividing up a Loved One’s Possessions

by | Oct 18, 2017 | For Families

A shelf with books, pencils, and a camera

Unfortunately, when facing a loss, we also must do other difficult tasks, like sorting through a loved one’s possessions.

Although it can help provide closure, it’s not an easy task to divide their possessions among their loved ones. It’s important that everyone receives something to remember their loved one by, and that the items are distributed fairly.

We’ll go over the dos and don’ts of dividing up a loved one’s possessions to make things a little easier and less stressful.

Determine Who Is Receiving the Possessions

First, you should determine everyone who is receiving the deceased’s items. Every situation is different so you should find out who the deceased’s beneficiaries are. For example, it could be the children of a deceased parent or the immediate family of a deceased loved one.

Also, you should check if the deceased recorded any specific beneficiaries in their will or another spot. They may have requested that certain items go to specific people.

Outside of the main beneficiaries, you can consider everyone who may want something of the deceased. This could be extended family members, close friends, or caregivers if they were at a nursing home or hospice facility. You can set aside small mementos for these people so they have a reminder of the deceased.

Develop a Distribution Plan

Before dividing anything, you should determine the value of the possessions. This could be items of sentimental value, family heirlooms, antiques, or something the deceased made themselves. If you’re unsure if something is an antique, you could get an online or in-person appraisal.

Since it’s already an emotional and stressful time, it’s a good idea to create an organized distribution plan. It may help to dedicate a family member to run the division of items to make sure things go smoothly. They can be the one to create an order for choosing items. And if any loved ones live far away, you can video chat them during the distribution.

For example, loved ones can choose items in a “snake” order from oldest to youngest and then from youngest to oldest and so on. It also may help to put the item into categories, such as heirlooms, furniture, jewelry, and so on. By dividing the items by category, this helps make the distribution process as fair as possible.

Donate the Rest of the Possessions

Remember, it’s alright to not keep everything. The memories you have of your loved one are more powerful than the objects. You should choose to keep the things that are most special to you. Then, you can donate the rest of the items in their honor to a charity or someone in need. This could be clothing, kitchen utensils, furniture, and other household items.

Families also can come up with a way to memorialize their loved one together. For example, you can dedicate a memorial bench or make DIY mementos, such as memorial scrapbooks. This is a special way to preserve your photos and memories with them. You also can have scans made of the photos so everyone has copies to always cherish.

What other tips do you have for dividing up a loved one’s possessions? Share them with us in the comments!


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