What to Keep When a Loved One Passes Away
Losing someone close to you is never easy, and it’s best not to rush the grieving process. If you inherited a home or are responsible for allocating their belongings, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do with the personal effects. This guide can help you through the decision-making process.
Documents to Hold Onto
While you know certain documents are necessary to keep, what about others? It can be confusing to decide.
Among the essential documents are tax forms and ID. Keeping a loved one’s tax returns for six years is necessary, just in case the CRA decides to run an audit. Identification, such as a passport, might be needed to prove your family member’s identity, so hold onto and store them with the death certificate.
Did your loved one have a business? The associated papers are ones you will likely want to keep. If in doubt, contact a business lawyer to confirm what to keep.
If your loved one was retired, retain the associated paperwork. That way, you can take care of any payments when dividing assets. Finally, collect their household bills and go through each one to close the respective accounts.
What about Personal Items?
Personal belongings are another area that you will have to decide what to keep after they pass away. Photographs are among the most important things.
Hanging onto the photos or giving them to someone who appreciates them is a way to honour your loved one. The photos may be ones given to them by their elders and be family heirlooms that continue from generation to generation.
Jewelry is another item that people often hold onto, and these items can help you feel close to the loved one. Even if you do not wear the brooch or other object, it can be something that you give to your kids at some point to keep in the family.
Antiques and fancy glassware or dishes are also something many people and use as a remembrance of the deceased family member. Keeping special items like these can help you keep them close.
You may also notice shelves, tables, and other surfaces with ornaments. Selecting those that remind you of them can make these seemingly ordinary items take on extra meaning. Perhaps you display them in your home or include them in a memory box.
Making Decisions about What to Keep
While you might consider keeping everything, that is not practical, and having all your loved one’s effects in storage where you don’t see it is not honoring them. Instead, the best thing to do is choose the items that hold the most meaning for you.
For example, if your grandmother’s teapot collection reminds you of the cups of tea shared, hold onto one of the teapots rather than all ten of them. You may feel guilty for letting go of some items but be gentle with yourself and remember that your loved one would not expect you to keep everything. Keep what makes you smile and divide the possessions with family and friends who want keepsakes too.
Bringing in the support of a professional organizer can help make the process easier and less emotionally overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of possessions. The expert can help you break the process down into manageable steps and short organizing sessions. We never force you to go faster than you want; instead, we are here to help you decide what feels important and meaningful to keep.