The possessions we live with make up part of our lives. These items hold sentimental value and represent who we are. Often, families have pieces that are passed down through the generations. As you create your estate plan, you will need to consider what is going to happen to those items.
Especially for families with more than one child, determining what to do with your family heirlooms can be tricky. Here are a few tips for making those decisions:
Figure out what you have
Make a list of the items you and your family would consider heirlooms. Then, get them appraised to determine their monetary value. While a painting by your grandmother may not be worth as much in dollars as it is in sentimental value, her engagement ring may be a bit more valuable.
Consider who should receive an heirloom
Once you know what you have to give, consider who in your family is the first in line to receive. How many children and grandchildren do you have? Are there other family members to consider as well?
Some people are excited to dig into their family history and research the background of your heirlooms. Some are content to have their own personal memories and aren’t as interested. Think about which family members would find the most value in these items. Who will care for them?
Ask your family members what they would like to receive
While it’s ultimately your decision as to who receives which piece, you can also ask for input from your family members. They may have had their eye on a certain piece of jewelry for a long time. Talking about these decisions can also help prevent future discomfort or frustrations with who receives what among your loved ones.
Put your decisions into your estate plan
Have your estate planning lawyer put your decisions into your will or trust. While discussing these decisions with your family members can be productive, putting where your heirlooms will go in writing can ultimately help to solidify such decisions and alleviate family tensions down the road.
If you have family heirlooms that hold significant value and want to continue to pass down, it is important to start thinking about that now. It can be difficult to talk with your family about sentimental items, but it will be helpful in the long term.