Michele Meier Vosberg is a Ph.D., a writer, a freelance educator, and a happy downsizer. She had spent many years in a large house outside Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and children. Along with … Read Full Article about Downsize, Then Redesign Life
Have You Considered Downsizing?
Contact us for guidance, motivation and inspiration. We’ll help you start the process! As people who’ve downsized describe to me the process they went through, many […]
Small Closets? You Need Lots of Drawers.
When my husband and I moved to Arlington, Virginia, into a small apartment, I let him have the master bedroom closet, the larger of the […]
Life After Divorce and Downsizing
A few months after I had downsized and moved to Arlington from Atlanta, I met two women who’ve both become my close friends. Each had […]
We Learn by Our Parents’ Examples
I had lunch today with a 50-something business associate who told the story of how his mother had insisted on living in the home […]
Stories from Real-Life Downsizers
Big Benefits of a Smaller Home
Browsing around the internet a few days ago looking for downsizing-related articles, I ran across one that appeared in PT Money, written by Emily Guy Birken, an author, journalist, blogger, former … Read Full Article about Big Benefits of a Smaller Home
News and Reviews
Lessons Non-Minimalists Can Learn
Minimalism is admirable. I've known a few practitioners in my life, most of whom seem to have come by their minimalism naturally. Others … Read Full Article about Lessons Non-Minimalists Can Learn
Book Review: “The New Small House”
Published in October 2015, Katie Hutchinson’s book The New Small House, is a delight. The book’s 200+ pages feature stunning photography, beautifully … Read Full Article about Book Review: “The New Small House”
Advice From Experts
Can We Please Put a More Positive Face on Downsizing?
Downsizing is not easy but one of the many downsizing advantages is that you change up your routine, meet new people, and learn to live a more robust life.
Estate Planning? Consider a Trust
Many affluent baby boomers are turning to estate planners for help in deciding what to do with their large homes. The New York Times (August 27, 2017) asks, “Sell and downsize to leave a larger pot of cash for heirs to divide? Deed the house or apartment to your adult children now to avoid squabbling after you’re gone. If so, where do you live in the meantime?”
While many people simply leave their homes to their children in their wills (a solid option when all the siblings get along and agree on what to do with the house), a growing number are creating trusts to minimize costs and avoid some of the delays that can occur during the asset-transfer period after they’re gone. The NYT article quotes financial planner Victoria Fillet Konrad, who says, “If you’re looking for a smooth transition from one generation to the next without fights and the high cost of probate, it’s best to set up a trust,”
Between 5 and 15 percent of the total value of an estate goes to pay probate and legal fees. Those costs can be reduced by setting up a trust, the costs can be paid up front, and the children named as beneficiaries don’t have to go through probate after their parents pass away.
People with high-value homes can consider setting up a Qualified Personal Residence Trust, which lets homeowners give the property to beneficiaries at a fraction of the value of the property, which helps significantly reduce the estate tax burden.
Whatever your situation (regardless of age, home value, heirs, and other factors), it’s a helpful exercise to discuss with your spouse and your children the best way to sell or otherwise deal with the family home. It can save a lot of time, trouble and tears later on.
HGTV’s Six Tips for Downsizing
“Downsizing a home can lead to lots of stress and anxiety for anyone who loves their belongings but hates living in clutter. Seniors, empty nesters or people moving from a suburban home to a city apartment all face the challenge of creating a new living space with limited room for furniture, accessories, clothes and collectibles. […]