18 June 2012

carving up the inheritance

Greetings all,
While imagining your parents passing away is absolutely horrible, my parents have been preparing our lives without them & carving up the inheritance for a long time - dividing up their treasured belongings & precious pieces collected from around the world.  My parents have decided to stay in the country (where they moved 10 months ago to see how a tree change with my doctor brother, might make growing elderly more dignified . . . it has!!) loving life in a small cottage & left the stress of maintaining a huge Sydney home behind them.  However, huge home is filled with over 50 years of their life together, ditto our childhoods, it needs to be emptied & ready for sale by the new year.  I know some things i want (without debate with siblings) like my father's world globe, maps, paintings . . . & i'd like the 1960's cocktail paraphernalia.  My paternal family used to breed, train & race horses 100 years ago (thus Uncle Rupert being in the Light Horse at Gallipoli with his own horse) i can imagine the photos in 'the den' of our future homestead (my husband cannot) so there are potential battles on a few fronts - bargaining with my siblings on what i can have, then with my husband - on what i can keep!!  
My parents don't consider this morbid, more a fact of life & they'd like to know where things are going, to enjoy them now & we can ask any questions about the history while they're alive.
 We dashed to Sydney on Sunday for a family event & our children played on Uncle Ernie's typewriter for the first time.  I guess he's Great Great Uncle Ernie to them.
My husband has a very different take on material things, he'd like to take cuttings of plants from our childhood gardens - so the roses planted by my English Grandfather live on at our future home.  I'd love to grow the same mulberry, mandarin, lemon, apple & orange trees too.  
Is there anything your parents have given you early, promised, or you have your eye on??  My favourite piece from my parents home will be the painting of the grand English estate where my gardener Grandfather met my maid Grandmother.  Very Downton Abbey folks.  Love Posie


Claireyhewitt said...

I don't consider this morbid either as long as it is done respectfully with everyone.

My Nana had 8 children and many grandchildren and great children (I have no idea how many, say around 50-60) she had very little assets and 'stuff'. But before she died, at some stage she used nail polish to write on the bottom of a tea cup and saucer, and though there was little to carve up, after her death we all got the tea cup she had allocated us at some time in her life.

It was lovely!

Mum on the Run said...

What treasures!
And it does make sense to approach inheritance in life - rather than after.
:-) xxx

Pip said...

We often talk about "when we/I/you die" and don't think it is morbid at all, it makes sense to us. There will be no fights (as there were with my grandmother's things) as everyone will get things that they want or that they originally gifted to Ma and Pa. Some of the things are already being given out as part of a general clean out. We even have talked about the funeral service, organ donation etc, my feeling is that if you don't talk about what you want, then no-one will know, although I suppose you can't complain once you're dead :)

jennie said...

This is such a great thing to do.
And like you say, you can talk to them about the things before they go.

We won't be getting anything from my parents, as there is no contact for the foreseeable future. We did have my grandfathers lemon and mandarin tree at our place in NZ, but could not bring them with us over here!X

trash said...

We have done this game forever and regularly refer to 'putting my name on it ' when at my mother's house. At this point my sister is getting all the jewellery and I am getting the craft stash. My 23 yo niece is getting the ceramic unicorn collevtion she fell in love with age 7. Hahaha.

Jan-Maree said...

Oh my goodness - you brought back such memories. Both my Mum and my Nanna did the same thing. You will see when you visit - my Nanna's cake tin, her red velvet rocking chairs (the kind without the rockers but the springs) the cupboard in my family room that sat in the back of our shed for at least 40 years in Perth till Mum passed away and it came home with me, the desk my father built out of packing crates and tea chests from their many moves as a School Principal in the country at which he completed his fourth year of study full time while muymother struggled to make ends meet. My Nanna's doll collection, my mother's ivory, a banned import now but a treasured souvenir of her big overseas trip in the 70s. Mum used to say that every time she came to visit she would see all the things that she and my Nanna had given me over the years - not the gifts but the things they had passed on as treasures and Mum loved that I now loved and used them. Mum wrote a letter to each of us three children detailing who was to have which precious things - but there were no surprises as it had all been talked about beforehand. I see something of my Mum, Dad and Nanna in each room of my house and it just says family to me and they don't seem so far away.

Jane said...

Oh Sweetheart. So many deep emotions bubbling away for both of us right now. I hope the 'division' with your siblings is hassle-free. J x

TexWisGirl said...

when i moved to texas at age 20, i told my mother i was taking her gold locket with me (it has a photo of her in it when she was about 18), since that was all i wanted from her when she passed away. it is still my most treasured piece. the most precious inheritance i got from her was her smile. :)

Bree said...

My granny put stickers with our names on the bottom of stuff we wanted or she wanted us to have. Often she would just give it to us too if she wasn't using it. Our house is full of her things.

Tas said...

I have 3 grandparents still living but my nan who died a few years back and who I was closest to used to spend her lunchtimes buying bits and pieces of teacups and saucers. I have told my mum that she can keep her Royal Dalton china collection but could I please have the china.

It helps if you can do the practical things before things get too emotional. I love the idea of the clippings.

Alannah said...

I have a frangipani tree growing in our garden. It was grown from a piece of my mum's tree, which came from a piece of her mum's tree, which came from a piece of her mum's tree! I knew my grandmother, but not my great grandmother. I will be sure to remember to give a cutting to our kids when they buy a house, so they can have a frangipani tree too! I love using my grandmother's mixing bowl and I also have some of her crystal and a ring...very special!

Seaweed and Raine said...

I think your parents deicision to downsize and share their posessions around now is quite an intelligent decision. And it makes the process easier then when it is fraught with the grief of them passing instead. I have one lot of grandparents that chose to do it that way, and their children found the process quite enjoyable.