Sometimes, Instead of focusing and estate plan on passing along assets or money, many aging adults want to emphasize leaving their loved ones with family history and legacy. This can include intangibles such as stories, journal entries, and photos.

But it can also include belongings filled with meaning and passed down from generation to generation, often called family heirlooms. What family heirlooms would you like to leave to family members that live on after you die? And how can you do it without hurting anyone’s feelings?

4 Tips for Passing Down Family Heirlooms

Catalogue the items in your life that mean the most to you. What do they represent? And who in your life needs a reminder of where they come from or what their purpose is? You can be thoughtful about sharing family heirlooms with those you love.

  1. Explain the Why Behind Leaving It: Consider making a voice recording about the meaning of the belonging and why you chose to leave it to the specific loved one. This story could be something they cherish just as much as an antique piece of furniture or jewelry.
  2. Select Beneficiaries Who Would Cherish the Item: Picking favorites may cause family drama. Instead, focus on choosing beneficiaries who have a meaningful connection to the piece and would appreciate receiving the item. Perhaps you pass down a piece of jewelry to a daughter who wore the earrings on her wedding day. Or a rocking chair could go to a son who sat by the window reading books in the chair.
  3. Prepare Your Family Before You Pass Away: Avoiding confrontation may lead to scuffles after you die. On the other hand, having conversations with your loved ones to let them know who gets what before you pass away could help ease the tension.
  4. Draw Up a Family History of Intangibles for Everyone to Access: In your estate plan, you can include a family legacy portfolio with audio recordings of stories and pictures of homes, births, and weddings. These intangible items can go to all of your loved ones, so they have a piece of what you left behind.

It’s important that you make it official by appointing beneficiaries for specific items in your home. Then, whether the heirlooms are meaningful to the family or worth a lot of money, you will be happy you made your intentions known. Shoup Legal is here to help you with drawing up official documents and making them a part of your estate plan. Contact us at (951) 455-4114 or email us at [email protected] to get started.