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Dealing with family heirlooms in your estate plan

When you start to create an estate plan, one of your first concerns will likely be how you will distribute your earned income and other financial assets among your heirs and beneficiaries after you die. However, money is often not the most important thing that your loved ones may hope to inherit in your will. On the contrary, statistics indicate that individuals are far more concerned with what will happen to family heirlooms than they are with money when their loved ones pass away.

Back in 2012, a survey was conducted on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America. The survey results were quite surprising. For though the U.S. was still recovering from an economic downturn and many baby boomers were saddled with a significant amount of debt at that time, that generation made it clear that heirlooms are ultimately more important than money.

According to the survey results, more than 85 percent of baby boomers claim that keeping family history and stories alive is the most critical element of their legacy. In addition, 64 percent of baby boomers explicitly indicated that family heirlooms and mementos are the most important inheritance that they can leave and receive.

As a result, it is important for you to think about the heirlooms and mementos that you currently possess. Who would you like to leave them to? Who will most appreciate them and care for them? Who is most likely to preserve them for future generations? When you are crafting your estate plan with an experienced attorney, do not forget to address these important questions.

Source: Market Watch, “Your heirs want this even more than your money,” Andrea Coombes, Dec. 21, 2013

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