Inside These Four Walls

Inside These Four Walls - Image 460x234
By James H. Lewis

Home is where the love is.

Is it under a warm and comfy blanket snuggled with your significant other or maybe a favorite cat?

Does it feel like home when the grandkids come over, you bake goodies, they share stories about their day, and you are whisked away together?

Maybe you find home in that room with the perfect view as you sit in your favorite chair, sipping tea and looking out the window at your lively birdhouse.

Whatever home is to you, it makes you feel good inside. As you look back over time at the different places you have owned, rented and lived in, they probably all evoked some pleasure.

That’s because home truly is where your heart is. Your heart is love.

Home is also the place where your loved ones come to you, and it is where one day you will no longer be. Then they will come to that place, go through your things, and decide who gets what and why. And as they feel your absence, they’ll realize that it’s not the four walls or the knick knacks that defined your home; it’s the heart that lived there and the love they experienced. You can make that eventual day an easier one for your family while creating joy in the present by giving now what will someday be theirs. You don’t have to wait to give away those things that hold the most emotional value — like the mixer you used to make cookies with the kids and then the grandkids. Or that certain pendant that you wanted your daughter to wear and then pass down to her girls. Or even your money. If you have enough financial assets to get you through, why not consider distributing some of the extra now when you can see it being used and enjoyed?

Whatever you plan to leave behind, the more planning you can do now, the easier it will be on the ones who remain behind.

Some advance planning and giving strategies might include:

An Estate Plan: This usually includes several documents to handle the financial, medical and legal aspects of all your “stuff,” and it can include your will, financial trusts, a living will, and financial and medical powers of attorney. If you don’t have these documents, or haven’t updated them in a while, talk to your financial planner and get some advice now.

A Planned Giving Strategy: Planned giving allows you to create a personal financial legacy by giving money to people, nonprofits or other organizations that are important to you.

Simple Gifts: For simple cash gifts, you can do this through your regular will.

Legacy Gifts: You can also plan to give retirement accounts, real estate and other financial assets to an organization and even designate that it be used for a particular purpose. For example, you may want to leave some money to your alma mater to establish a scholarship in your name.

Life insurance: If your health qualifies you for it, is also a useful part of a planned giving strategy, and it can allow you to pass on money to your heirs with important tax advantages.

Bequeathing Valuable Possessions: This would include those special pieces of art or jewelry or maybe even clothes or furniture that you’d like to distribute to certain people. After you’ve decided how, what and when to give, sit down and plan a dinner and invite the kids and maybe even the grandkids over. Share your thoughts on how you will distribute your wealth both now and after you die. This can be a wonderful way to share special memories and pass along important family traditions at a happy time, rather than one filled with grief at your passing.

Now may be the time for you to pass on the things that you used with the recipient, like the chessboard spent hours bent over together or the family recipe book from Great Grandma. Create new memories now, at a time when you can both enjoy them.

The best part of giving away some of your things while you’re still around is that you get to see the faces of the recipients and know how much it means to them. You get to add that memory to your own and write a little bit more of your story together. You get to make your home just a bit sweeter and more filled with love. Later, when you have moved on, dealing with the rest of your things will be easier for them having had this experience.

There won’t be fighting over those special memories.

There won’t be hurt feelings about misunderstood intentions.

There will be peace and understanding.

In the end there will be sweet memories that everyone can share about your times together when your four walls held the heart of your home.

As they gather together, remembering everything you shared, your house will once more become the home they all knew and loved.

For more information on estate planning or a planned giving strategy, contact your financial planner or contact the author at Kokopelli Financial for a free consultation.

About The Author

James' motto is "Helping you know what you don't know." With degrees in economics and finance, James has a thriving financial planning business in downtown Brighton, MI. He is known as Kokopelli Man on his company's YouTube channel: Kokopelli Financial News Network. In his spare time, he and his wife host "Chef Shamus Supper Clubs." James is married to the love of his life, and they currently reside in Howell, MI.