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The Most Cherished Inheritance Might Be Your Story

Part of the process of creating an estate plan involves deciding key inheritance questions. While the big questions of how to divide your money and property will likely play a key role in this process, you might also want to consider the importance that personal family details and stories might hold to your closest family members.

A recent survey conducted by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America showed that a large majority of people say that keeping their family histories alive is very important to them. 86% of baby boomers surveyed, along with 74% of people age 72 and older, say that their most important concern is their ability to keep their family history and legacy alive.

Inheritances are More Than Just Money

The survey also revealed that most people don’t place a very high value on receiving inheritances of money and property. 64% of boomers, and 58% of those 72 and older, say that family heirlooms and personal mementos are a key inheritance decision, even if those mementos do not have a high dollar value. When asked if they are eagerly anticipating an inheritance of money or property, only 9% of baby boomer said they were, while only 14% of those 72 and older said that leaving a healthy monetary inheritance is important to them.

Taking The Time to Tell Stories

If you’re like most families you’ve probably told, and heard, the same stories over and over again. Many people take it for granted that their children or grandchildren will remember the important family stories that everyone shares, and pass those stories on to their own descendants. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A lot of families tend to lose important pieces of their personal history because no one takes the time to write those stories down.

If your family stories are important to you, there are some simple steps you can take to help preserve them.

First, review your old photo albums. If you know where and when the photos were taken, each picture can bring a host of stories. Just by writing down some simple details on the back of each picture, such as the names of the people in it, where and when the photo was taken, and any other important details you might remember, can be vital.

Second, consider creating a more permanent piece of family history that you can distribute to all your loved ones. With a computer, desktop publishing software, and a scanner, you can take old photos and documents and assemble them into an album or book. You can then have such a book printed, or distribute digital copies to whomever you like.

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