17 Things You Should Never Leave Your Children When You Die

It’s important to consider what will happen when we die, especially when it comes to our will. While leaving all your worldly possessions to your children seems like the obvious choice, that may not be so. Here are 17 things you should never leave your children when you die.

Cherished heirlooms

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Passing cherished heirlooms down to the next generation often feels like the most obvious thing to do, but tread carefully. If you just have one child, this is a great option, but it could spell disaster with multiple children. You really don’t want your children fighting over heirlooms, so consider other options.


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Pets are beloved family members, but what happens to them when we die? Be wary of leaving them to your children; this is a huge responsibility, and it could even be a burden to their lives. Talk to them about it, and only proceed if they’re happy to take on the responsibility.

Uneven financial sums

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If you have multiple children, any financial inheritance should be equally split. Assigning different amounts to different children can cause a lot of tension after you’re gone. The New York Times explains that unequal inheritance can trigger rivalry, so avoid family dramas by evenly splitting your finances.

VHS tapes

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You’ve kept hold of them for years because they mean something to you, but your old VHS tapes will mean nothing to your children. Most children born after the ‘90s don’t even know how to use a VHS tape, so consider digitizing them so they can be enjoyed after you’re gone.

Gifts with conditions

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If you want to leave your children a specific gift in your will, just do it; don’t attach any conditions or special instructions to the gift. This can lead to legal challenges in obtaining the gift and may also feel like an unnecessary burden.

Property you don’t fully own

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Property is a fantastic thing to inherit, but only if it’s fully paid off and in your name. You want as few complications as possible when distributing your property, and if it has an existing mortgage or an additional owner, this could be unaffordable or problematic for your children to navigate.


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Although your children have no legal responsibility to repay your debts after you die, any remaining debt you have left may impact their inheritance. Forbes reminds us that debts will be repaid from your estate, which will eat into your children’s inheritance and could leave them with nothing.

Old clothes

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There may be a handful of clothing items that have a certain sentimental value, but your children won’t want all of your old clothes. This may feel unsettling to them, so donating your clothes may be a better option that will help a cause in the process.

Disorganized paperwork

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After your death, your children will need to locate certain paperwork, such as insurance policies, account details, and tax records. It is crucial that you keep your paperwork organized so this is easy for them to find. A paperwork mess is just additional stress for your children.

Dust and dirt

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When you leave behind a property, you leave behind its contents, including dust and dirt. No matter what happens to the property, it will need clearing and cleaning, so make this easy for your children by maintaining the property and keeping it clean.


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Continuing from the last point, make sure your property is in the best condition possible if you’re considering leaving it to your children. Whether your children plan to sell or live on your property, repairs will be costly for them. This could be stressful or even unaffordable.

Cash gifts

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As previously mentioned, cash gifts are commonly found in wills, and they can help set your children up for life. However, it may be more financially savvy to help them get ahead in life while you are still alive, as Investopedia claims that many people make poor financial decisions after a loss.

Old magazines

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Old magazines usually hold no value, and while you may think they’ll be worth something, they’re probably not. Do your research and discuss this with your kids, but remember, a collection of old magazines is probably just another thing that your children will have to dispose of.

Holiday decor

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Many beloved memories are built around the holidays, so you’ll undoubtedly want to keep any treasured holiday decor in the family. This is a great idea, but call a family meeting and discuss this whilst you’re still alive. Otherwise, your children may fight over it, turning the holiday season bitter.


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After your death, your children will have a lot to deal with, so they don’t need the hassle of sorting out all of your clutter. Children have a hard time parting with their parents’ belongings after death, so this may lead to them hoarding pointless items. Be considerate and have a clear out!


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Settling your inheritance will be far easier for your children to process if they know what to expect. Estate Planning discovered that 70% of families fight over unexpected inheritance, so rather than leaving surprises in your will for your children to fight over, call a family meeting and lay out your will plans.

Unresolved issues

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Finally, no one wants to deal with tension while they’re grieving. Disputes are present in every family, so try to settle any family drama while you are still alive. After you are gone, there will be no time for resolution, and your children will end up carrying the wound of any unresolved issues.

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