“Money can be divided pretty evenly, but the teacup that grandma always used? Maybe there’s only a $2 value associated with that teacup, but because of the sentimental value and the emotions around it, that causes the controversy.”
While it is easier to think about an inheritance as money or assets, don't forget the other valuables that get left behind. The gift of “family” itself in the form of history, stories, memories, and mementos are also part of your legacy -- a part that your heirs may value more than the cash.
For support of this notion, consider the findings of a recent survey of baby boomers, as reported in an article of MarketWatch titled “Your heirs want this even more than your money.”
You might say it comes down to legacy itself, and a legacy in the form of the family.
Fully 86% of baby boomers and 74% of Americans aged 72 and older said family stories and keeping their family history alive is the most important piece of their legacy, according to a 2012 survey conducted for Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America. And 64% of boomers and 58% of elders said family mementos and heirlooms are a key inheritance. Just 9% of boomers said they’re eager to inherit money, and 14% of elders said financial assets are an important legacy to leave. The findings closely matched a similar Allianz survey in 2005.
As you can imagine, feelings can be hurt when it comes to one-of-a-kind items of family history significance. While “stories” can be shared and enjoyed by everyone in the family, how should you handle family “artifacts”?
With the increased boomer interest in family legacies, do not neglect planning for the mementos and heirlooms that are themselves tangible treasures of such legacies.
Reference: MarketWatch (December 16, 2013) “Your heirs want this even more than your money”