According to family lore, I have a claim to 1/16 of a postage stamp sized vacant piece of land in rural Pennsylvania. My dad’s cousin reminded me of this a couple of years ago. I’m choosing to ignore it.
I come to you today with a hard truth: your family doesn’t want everything you have.
Whether you want to believe it or not, things that you find valuable and meaningful are not viewed the same way by even those closest to you. Will they want to inherit family heirlooms? Sure. Your dog? Possibly! Your brand new car? Definitely. However there is an ever-growing list of items that more and more descendants are deciding they don’t want, and I’m here to enlighten you on our biggest three.
Businesses. Unless your name is Richard Branson or you have a business that runs the ranks of Google, chances are your kin will want nothing to do with your business after you die. Perhaps you’ve been super proud of how much Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, or Cutco knives you’ve sold and how much your MLM business has grown? We’re proud of you too, but your family doesn’t want to inherit that either. It doesn’t invalidate all your hard work, it’s the simple fact of how much responsibility comes along with inheriting a business that most people are not prepared to handle financially or otherwise.
Storage units. Ah, storage units. Where stuff goes to die! Listen, we understand why people get storage units – we spend our lives accumulating stuff and as we get older we tend to run out of room, especially if we downsize our living space. There are two solutions: part with the things that no longer *spark joy*, or get a storage unit. Unfortunately, most of the population will choose the latter. And extra unfortunately, your family does not want to inherit that square box of stuff that will most likely mean nothing to them. We suggest either you (or they) pick and choose the meaningful items that matter most, and leave the rest to an estate sale or donation pile.
Timeshares, and vacation properties. Timeshares certainly have their perks. Who doesn’t love having a beach vacation home to rendezvous off to in the middle of the winter? Unfortunately, timeshares can not only be money-suckers for those who own them, they can also be incredibly difficult to get out of. Therefore, before you bequeath any timeshares or vacation properties in your will to your loved ones unless they specifically have asked for it. It will only cause more of a headache for them after you’re gone, and simply having you gone will already be hard enough.
If you’re on the other side of this and have inherited a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas that you don’t want, here are the requirements to disclaim it according to the IRS:
- Provide an irrevocable and unqualified refusal to accept the assets.
- Make the disclaimer in writing.
- Disclaim the asset within nine months of the death of the assets’ original owner (one exception: if a minor beneficiary wishes to disclaim, the disclaimer cannot take place until after the minor reaches the age of majority, at which time they will have nine months to disclaim the assets).
- The person disclaiming cannot have benefited from the proceeds of the disclaimed property.
- The person disclaiming cannot have the assets indirectly passed to them.
- The person disclaiming must have no influence over who is the contingent beneficiary.
As always, please seek appropriate legal counsel specific to your situation. Don’t get us wrong, most of what you leave behind may be viewed as sentimental by those closest to you, but at some point practicality will take over and only the things that truly matter and make a difference will be passed on, and this is a good thing for all the generations of your family to come.