12 Things You Should Never Leave to Your Kids in the Will

Films and TV shows have made most of us believe that inheritances are primarily trust funds that parents leave behind to their children. In reality, apart from financial legacies, parents also leave emotional and physical legacies for their children in their will, which sometimes burden them.

Read on to learn 12 things never to leave to your children in the will.

Old Clothes

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Your clothes may be your treasure, but they are someone’s trash. With changing fashion trends and personal clothing choices, no child would want to inherit your old clothes unless they are an authentic pashmina, a will-never-go-out-of-fashion Dior coat, or your wedding dress. So do your children a favor and discard or donate all the clothes, housecoats, and undergarments you don’t wear and never will, even if some still have tags.

Boxes Of Photos

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Photos are your precious memories, but they are not necessarily for your children. Save them the time and embarrassment of going through your old photos, and deal with them yourself. Discard the ones you think no one in your family will appreciate inheriting.

No child wants to take home old photos of you posing in a school uniform or standing with your grandparents whom they never met. If the photos are of the children, better digitize them or put them in separate boxes/envelopes with their names on them. Some info on where and when the photo was taken at the back will be helpful.

A House Full Of Clutter

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Over the years, we collect many things that might have served their purpose but still lie in forgotten closets, drawers, basements, and attics. You will be surprised that children have dealt with broken racquets, VHS tapes, non-functioning clocks, moth-ridden bedroom linens, and whatnot while clearing away their parents’ belongings. It takes a high physical and emotional toll on children.

Old Magazines/Books

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No one is interested in old magazines, Reader’s Digest, and encyclopedias – news for you – and they are probably just collecting dust or taking up storage space. Reading choices have evolved, and these once-exciting things are outdated. Children have moved to search everything online for their school homework and don’t care for bulky encyclopedias. Donate, sell, or recycle.

Old Linen

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Your old linen should be treated just like your old clothes. No one wants your old bedding, stained or yellowing tablecloths, bath towels and robes, doilies, and other linen. Keep what you need for daily life and discard the rest.

Holiday Decor

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Children consider holiday decor items like menorahs, vintage crinoline tree skirts, wood bowls, boards, or nativity sets, precious or junk. Instead of leaving them in the will, discuss them with your children if they want something from them to avoid confusion and ill will.

Old Tableware

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You might have taken great pains and care to keep your crockery, cutlery, serving dishes, and glassware in mint condition and might be incredibly proud of your tableware, but your children might not share your sentiments. It’s a good idea to leave that Pickard floral Chintz tea set, covered casserole serving dish, or porcelain China dinnerware set out of the will unless one of your children has explicitly shown interest in receiving them.


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Not planning to leave wealth to your children is acceptable, but leaving a mountain of paperwork for your children to sort out is a cruel punishment. Imagine your children having to sort through years of accumulated flyers, coupon booklets, insurance papers, and physical bills. Sort papers into files and mark the folders properly so that it is easy for anyone to understand, for example – car, bank, taxes, health insurance, important papers, etc. Furthermore, never leave unfiled tax returns for your children. If you are not up to it, hire a bookkeeper or an account to file your returns.


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It has happened that children get a 4-bedroom condo and valuable paintings in the will, but they have also been left thousands in debt. Do not leave your debt in the will for your children to pay. Find a way to resolve your debts. If you cannot repay them, enter into bankruptcy, which protects you and your estate from creditors. In the latter case, keep your children in the loop about your financial situation, and it will not come as a rude shock after your passing.

Family Feud

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Leaving different amounts of your estate to your children can start a family feud. Similarly, an incomplete will, contradictory statements, or dated estate plan can also lead to ill-will between the siblings. Unless you want to be called ‘unfair’ by your children after you are no more, be clear, consistent, and complete with your estate plans. Update them every few years whenever there is a change in your family structure, such as a birth, death, or divorce.

Dirt And Mess

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No one likes to inherit a dirty house. While you may have made peace with cobwebs, dust bunnies, and mildew, your children may resent the time, money, and effort that goes into cleaning an inherited property. Clean your house; you should live in a dust-, clutter-, and mildew-free home.

Unused Gifts

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If you have unused gifts from your children lying around, donate them now. You don’t want your children to know that you did not use their gift and passed it back to them or your sibling.

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