The Wall Street Journal recently published an article noting that baby boomers and seniors are not interested in merely leaving behind money as their legacy, but are more interested in passing along a heritage through family heirlooms and history which enrich the lives of future generations.

According to a 2012 survey conducted by Allianz Life Insurance, 86% of boomers and 74% of Americans over the age of 72 felt that the most important piece of their legacies is keeping their family histories alive; the WSJ article also noted that these groups valued family mementoes and heirlooms as significant inheritance pieces.

We, too, highly cherish family histories, and that is why we incorporate Family Wealth Legacy Interviews into the planning process with every single client at no additional charge. In our eyes, it is an essential part of the process to help keep your family history alive.

Sadly, family mementoes are one of the most common causes of conflict among heirs. Here is some advice that can help prevent disputes from arising over the things you and your family cherish:

1.  Discuss with your loved ones about who will get what when the time comes, and work out the details in advance.  Then make sure all family members are aware of the choices you have made and why.

2.  Have a memorandum included in your estate plan that details the specific bequests. You might want to leave that with your family in the form of a recorded audio so that they can hear the stories behind the cherished pieces directly from you. This way, they understand your reasoning behind who gets what and why. We do this with you as part of our Family Wealth Legacy process.

3.  Give thought to who you decide to give what to since these are things your family will remember the most, but don’t make it a matter of favorites.

4.  Create a Family Wealth Legacy Interview to pass along to your loved ones that includes your family history and your values. You can do this in any way you would like, but in a way that is not legally binding. For example, you can write a letter or create a website to help pass on a history that makes each family unique.

If you would like more information about passing on the things you love to the people you love, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.