If your parents are still alive, read this book today

Have you considered what a big project it is to clean out and properly distribute a lifetime’s accumulation? Is your worst nightmare having to take on that project with little or no warning?

The greatest gift a parent can give a grown child is NOT an inheritance. The greatest gift is a well-planned estate, a carefully downsized collection of belongings, and lots of advance communication.

Julie Hall’s checklists in The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff (2007) will help both parents and their grown children prepare for the inevitable.

Her true stories of estates gone wrong and embittered families will remind you why it’s necessary.

And her (equally true) stories of families growing closer through the process of dividing the stuff will warm your heart.

If you’ve signed on as executor for anyone (or suspect that you might get tagged for the role), read this book and keep it on your reference shelf.

Caveat: the instructions for how to dispose of prescription medicines are now outdated; search “don’t flush drugs” for current guidelines.


“No one enjoys thinking about and making plans for their parents’ deaths, but because I see what happens when people don’t prepare for the inevitable, I wanted to share everything I’ve learned….If you read this while your parents are still reasonably healthy, you will have had that conversation with them, avoiding much of the conflict and heartache that comes when you’re not prepared.” pg 202.