Family Values and History Are Still the Best Inheritance

According to a recent study, family values, traditions and history still mean more than money as an inheritance.According to a 2012 Allianz Life American Legacies Pulse Study which surveyed baby boomers (age 47 to 66) and “elders” (age 72 and older), a high percentage of both boomers (86%) and elders (74%) agreed that family stories, values and life lessons are the most important part of a family’s legacy. Allianz Life conducted a similar study in 2005 with similar results.  This is further illustrated by the recent phenomenon of Salt Lake City resident, Val “Rocky” Patterson’s obituary going viral.  A Salt Lake Tribune article stated:  “Patterson’s obituary proved so popular Tuesday that the onslaught crashed Starks Funeral Parlor’s website.”  One person commenting on the funeral home’s website said: “Don’t know Val but his story has touched me!"While the size of the financial inheritance is not seen as important, planning is. A high percentage of both groups (82-84%) emphasized having instructions in place in the event a parent were to become terminally ill or permanently unconscious. Both have strong desires to avoid family conflicts when it comes to estate planning and legacy issues. Younger people also believe that keeping family possessions is important.When planning your estate, in addition to passing on assets, consider passing on your values and your history as well.  Each of us has a story.  Nothing will be of more value to your heirs than a handwritten note or an audio recording where you share these cherished stories of your past in your own voice.  A further benefit is that these stories will be one of the most effective ways you can convey your values, about family, faith, money, work, etc.So while planning your estate, in addition to wealth, leave a legacy of history and values to your family.  They will be cherished long after the money has been spent.