How to preserve your family’s legacy

We’d like to share an interesting story that asks the question: are family stories, mementos and keepsakes more important to people than a cash inheritance? Those surveyed in the story say it’s not all about the money.

In the fast-paced world we live in, many modern families express regret over not doing more to record their histories while their ancestors were still alive. Unless someone writes them down (or tapes them), stories that are passed down verbally tend to fade away with the passing of an aging relative.

What can you do to pass down your family’s legacy for future generations? Here are a few steps you can take:

1. Record Your Family Stories Take time to record your family stories. Write them down or make an audio or video recording. Make notes on the backs of photos to preserve memories. Heirs often regret not knowing more about the family photos they inherit.

2. Write An Ethical Will

Sharing your family values can be among the most treasured keepsakes. Consider writing an Ethical Will, which is a document that passes on your life story and personal values. An Ethical Will can take any form like a video or a letter that is included with your Will.

3. Talk About Your Keepsakes

Establish a method for disbursing your keepsakes; it can go a long way toward avoiding conflict. Talk with children individually and as a group. Come to an agreement then put it in writing.

4. Add A Memorandum To Your Will

Create a memorandum in your Will that details how you want to divide property with sentimental value. Attach a photo of each item in your memorandum. A common approach is each relative gets to pick one item. Some of your heirs may not be happy with your decisions, but they’re less likely to be unhappy with each other.

5. Avoid Favoritism

If you have a favorite family member, show your affection for them before you pass away in order to make your division of property more equitable. If you want to leave a legacy that fosters harmony in your family, treat them as equally as possible.

6. Choose Your Estate Executor Wisely

Remember you’re giving power to one person who is often a family member. To make things more equitable, consider hiring a corporate fiduciary as executor; you can name a professional executor in your Will or you can request your executor hire a professional after you pass away. Read the story here.

Reprinted with permission from Passage.org.

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