What Do Heirs Want More Than Money?

New Jersey residents can expect to live longer lives than ever before. Unfortunately, residents who live longer lives will also be exposed to the staggering costs of long-term care. This necessarily means that there will be less money to pass on to the next generation. As a recent article explains, however, this will likely not be cause for complaint.

Especially within the boomer generation, individuals would rather inherit personal keepsakes and family stories than money. Additionally, 74 percent of those aged 72 and older reported that family history is the most important thing that they will pass on. As explained by president of consumer insights for Allianz Life, Katie Libbe, β€œThe things that make your family unique – not money, but stories and personal possessions – those are most important in the legacy discussion.”

Despite the importance of family heirlooms and stories, it is all too easy for these things to get lost as wealth and other assets are transferred from generation to generation. It is therefore important for individuals to incorporate tangible personal property and intangible memories into their estate plans. Below are several steps that you can take to begin incorporating your legacy into your estate plan:

  1. Discuss your legacy with your family: When planning your estate, ask your family members if they would like specific keepsakes. Alternatively, if you have aging parents, consider discussing what items they would like to give to whom. It is also important to take the time to tell family stories and record important information. Consider writing important details on the back of family portraits.
  2. Create a Memorandum: As part of your will, include a memorandum that deals with the distribution of personal property. This memorandum should deal with who should receive specific items. Creating such a memorandum will also reduce the possibility of conflict concerning the distribution of your assets.