Estate planning is often a very emotional, personal process that will affect you and your family for years to come. Part of this process involves looking at the important legal issues that will affect you and your family as you get older, as well as after you are dead. Yet the law is only one piece of this puzzle. Only you know what you want to leave behind, and many people who are creating an estate plan know that inheritances and property are only a minor piece of the picture. What’s most important to many people is the knowledge that you and your family will be able to keep what is most important to you.
Focusing on What Really Matters
As a recent survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America shows, the vast majority of baby boomers and elders are far more concerned with ensuring that their families know the important stories and details surrounding their life story. The survey showed that 86% of baby boomers and 74% of those 72 and older didn’t view monetary inheritances as the most important part of their legacy. Instead, they valued the ability to ensure that their family histories and stories were remembered.
The survey also revealed that receiving a large monetary inheritance is not as important to those who stand to inherit. Only 9% of baby boomer said that receiving a monetary inheritance is something they looked forward to, while 14% of elders said leaving such inheritances is one of the most important issues they face.
What both of these groups seem to cherish most keenly is the ability to keep cherished heirlooms in the family, and maintain a strong sense of stories and details that make the family unique.
Collecting and Preserving Family Memories
Everyone has family photographs, childhood documents, and other important details that they want to preserve. But how do you go about doing this?
Luckily, we all live in a time when technology has made the process much easier. A simple scanner attached to a computer can allow you to digitize any photo or document you like. Once in a digital format, you can then manipulate those images through a host of desktop publishing and image processing software platforms.
If you’re not computer savvy, simply going through your family photo albums and writing down some important details on the back of each photo can be a great place to start. For example, you can review each photo and write down who is in it, as well as where and when the photo was taken. You can also use the photo to jog your memory to write down important stories you want to preserve.