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How to Pass On Family Heirlooms Without Causing a Family Feud

Ali Katz


The holidays are traditionally the time for family gatherings, where generations come together and perform holiday rituals that have been passed down through the years.  Part of those rituals includes material possessions – a well-worn set of silver at the holiday table, grandmother’s china or treasured tree ornaments from childhood.

When we sit down to that holiday meal, rarely do we contemplate Susie and Sally engaged in a bitter fight over the sterling butter knives.  But it happens.  A lot.

To ensure that family memories are kept in a good place, your estate plan needs to include the orderly disposition of your material possessions.  Unbeknownst to a lot of us, these possessions can hold special meaning to younger generations, and a family feud that could be in the offing can be avoided by advance planning.

As part of your comprehensive estate plan, you may want to consider distributing some material possessions to your heirs prior to your death.  If not, then you need to be sure you specify exactly who you want to get what by:

  • Listing in detail each item and the name of the intended recipient
  • Sharing this list with your estate executor as well as with your family
  • Including the list within your last will and testament or other estate planning documents

If you’d like to learn more about estate planning strategies for your family, contact a Personal Family Lawyer®today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.