How to Pass On Family Heirlooms Without Causing a Family Feud

Now that the holidays have passed, it’s a good time to think about how to pass on your family heirlooms.

The holidays are traditionally the time for family gatherings, where generations come together and perform holiday rituals that have been passed down through the years.  Part of those rituals includes bringing out sentimental items – a well-worn set of silver at the holiday table, grandmother’s crystal, china received as a wedding gift or treasured tree ornaments from childhood – whether the items have been passed down from generation to generation, or are newly acquired and will become cherished heirlooms in the future.

When we sit down to that holiday meal, rarely do we contemplate our children, or their spouses, engaged in a bitter fight over the sterling butter knives.  But it happens.  A lot.

To ensure that family memories are kept in a good place, your estate plan needs to include the orderly disposition of your material possessions.  Unbeknownst to a lot of us, these possessions can hold special meaning to younger generations, and a family feud that could be in the offing can be avoided by advance planning.

As part of your comprehensive estate plan, you may want to consider specify exactly who you want to get what by:

·       Listing in detail each item and the name of the intended recipient
·       Sharing this list with your estate executor as well as with your family
·       Including the list within your last will and testament or other estate planning documents

Or, you may want to set out a procedure for your children to choose the items.

If you’d like to learn more about creating a personal estate plan, call us today at 530.581.5455 to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session™ with me, Jill Gregory, a Personal Family Lawyer®.


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