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Heirlooms are top inheritance priority for boomer generation

Members of the baby boom generation care more about holding on to family heirlooms and personal keepsakes than they do about inheriting money or assets from their parents, according to a recent survey. In fact 86 percent of baby boomers who were surveyed said that maintaining their family legacy and keeping their history alive was the most important thing to pass down among the generations. Overall 74 percent of Americans also hold this view.

This may come as a surprise to some readers who would guess that inheriting money is a priority, particularly in the lagging economy when retirement savings may be dwindling. However, only nine percent of baby boomers who took the survey said that money was a key part of their inheritance.

Passing down family stories, mementos, and personal items can be as easy as recording stories of grandparents and handing over an antique silver platter to a younger relative. At the same time, some items may have both significant sentimental and monetary value and that could lead to come conflict over which family member is truly entitled to ownership. These issues can be dealt with by documenting wishes about particular items or groups of items in a will. For example, one could designate a work or art or a special piece of jewelry to go to a niece or nephew if they share a special connection with the item. Alternatively, one could designate that items from a particular ancestor are divided amongst their direct descendants and might appoint the estate executor to oversee the specific distribution.

Source: Market Watch, "Your heirs want this even more than your money: It’s never about the money, it’s always about the heirlooms," Andrea Coombes, Dec. 16, 2013

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