By: Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
Who Gets the Grandfather Clock?
Blame it on the grandfather clock. My cousin, Jim, has not talked to his brother for 20 years. All because his brother received the tall clock that stood in the same place in their parent’s home for 55 years. When Jim was a child, his job was to keep the clock running. He was proud that it never ran down until he left for the army at age 18.
How could this be avoided? Margaret Jo Culberson has a great idea. Her parents made a list of family heirlooms, pictures and nicer furniture. They asked their children to mark each item with “really want it” “would like to have it” or “will take it if no one else wants it”. The children returned the lists and when the parents died, they discovered a combined list stating each item to be received by a child. This process helped the family avoid misunderstandings and heartache at a difficult time.
 “Handling an estate” Margaret Jo Culberson, Tracy, Calif., July/August, 2013, AARP Bulletin.