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Who will keep the family heirlooms?

Baby boomers began reaching the age 70-and-a-half milestone in the middle of last year. Since then -- and for the next 18 years -- 10,000 baby boomers will retire each day.

Downsizing often comes hand-in-hand with retirement. With the children grown and gone, parents no longer have the need -- or the desire -- to keep large family homes. With the loss of square footage comes the need for de-cluttering. Therein lies the problem.

What will I do with all my stuff?

You may not wish to toss every item that doesn't give you joy, as Marie Kondo urges in her best-seller book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." However, some paring down is essential, especially if you are moving into a townhome or turnkey condo.

The issue is compounded when you have -- or are expecting to inherit -- your parents' personal items as well. You may not want to take your mother's good china, even if she inherited it from her mother. Chances are that your children don't have the room to take family heirlooms either.

Antique furniture sets, crystal stemware, silver place settings and family photos and mementos are no longer passed from generation to generation. While there has been a cultural shift from materialism to minimalism, much of the change stems from the lack of space rather than a lack of desire to hang onto family history.

Self-storage only delays the inevitable. The multi-billion dollar storage industry is the only one who is benefiting from the units that are popping up like spring flowers everywhere you turn. When was the last time you went through items in your storage unit? If you are like many people, you've forgotten much of what you've stored there.

Looking for a solution

While the issue of personal property will not go away easily nor without a bit of angst, you can do something about your other valuable assets. An estate plan can provide your family members with guidance about your wishes and financial security for their futures. A comprehensive plan can help them save time, energy and money.

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