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Estate Planning Should Address your Family’s Values

The philosopher Abraham Maslow said, “The ultimate disease of our time is valuelessness.” Poll results show that boomers agree. But how do you pass on something as intangible as a family value?

Giving a gift is one thing, giving a lesson is another entirely. With a gift, you may make another happy, but with a lesson, you may make another wise. Interestingly, intangible gifts such as wisdom and values are of rising concern with baby boomers.

This concern is evidenced by the findings in a recent survey, as reported in an article in TIME Magazine’s Moneyland. In the article, titled “How to Give Heirs What They Most Want (It Won’t Cost Much),” more and more people consider “family stories” to be their greatest legacy, along with the lessons behind them. In fact, a whopping 86% of boomers named “family stories” as the most important part of their legacy, even if they also had complex assets to leave or a family tradition of wealth to continue.

Against this backdrop, the question today, as it has always been, is about how to instill or commemorate such values and heritage. The article concludes with this thought:

“It takes reflection to understand what is most important in your life and how you might get that message to heirs. But it won’t be a waste of time. Sometimes a scrapbook is worth more than an investment portfolio.” 

For more ideas on this subject, be sure to consult the original article and speak with your estate planning attorney for creative approaches other clients have taken in the past.

You can learn more about estate planning and elder law issues on our website. Be sure to sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: TIME Moneyland (June 12, 2012) “How to Give Heirs What They Most Want (It Won’t Cost Much)”

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