My Story: Leaving Heirlooms
contributed by Valerie
Inheritance in a Second Marriage
Expensive Legal Documents
How to Distribute Family Heirlooms
I used to work for a lawyer who did wills as part of the practice. I learned some things from our clients that stuck.
- If an heir has particularly admired a piece, give it to that person.
- If the item is one made by an heir, give it back.
- Sit down with all potential heirs and go over the list. Get the issues out of the way while you are alive. Let the heirs battle it out. This isn't as easy as it sounds because the whole issue is an uncomfortable one and children do not like thinking of their parents' deaths. They will also behave in a much different fashion when you are present than when you are not, just like when they were little. Make sure you discuss this with your spouse, regardless if that spouse is the natural/adoptive parent or a step parent.
- Be willing to write down a short description of each item and put it in a hat if the heirs aren't cooperating. This sounds stupid, but not cooperating is stupid also.
- Don't leave step children out of the picture, especially if they have been part of the family for their growing up years. Include them in step #3.
- Allow for unborn grandchildren or, in my mother's case, unborn great-grandchildren if you want by adding a clause in the will to accommodate them. Don't forget adoptions.
- If you are going to name a non-family member as one of the heirs, let your family know, even if you think they will understand and happily "give their parent" away to them.
- If you find that there are valuable "unwanted" pieces, specify in the will that they should be sold and the proceeds divided by whatever percentage is necessary.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor. Just Click Here and tell us what's on your mind.
Trending on TDS
- 'Foodie' birthday party ideas
- 8 ways to beat retail therapy
- 6 steps to a romantic fall picnic
- Keeping family and friends entertained at holiday gatherings
- Homemade bubble bath gifts
- 8 tips to successfully work from home
- 6 ways to get free movies and discounts
- Top 10 best (and real) work-at-home jobs and careers
- Money-saving secrets of the rich and frugal
- November deals at the supermarket and beyond
- How to live a life of luxury without going broke