The Best Inheritance is Still Family Values and Family History

The Best Inheritance is Still Family Values and Family Historyfamily-trust-planning

According to a 2012 study sponsored by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, baby boomers and senior citizens considered family values and family history among the most important things that you can pass on to your children. Most of them viewed passing on family values, traditions and history as more important than the monetary inheritance you leave your children. The study entitled, “Allianz Life American Legacies Study” was published in 2012.

The study was a follow-up to an original study the company conducted in 2005. In both studies, there were very high percentages of individuals who believed that it is very important that parents pass on the family legacy including life lessons, values and stories. It appears that passing along values in addition to money is still a high priority; however, according to an article in The Dallas Morning News, parents are also very concerned about teaching their children the value of money rather than just giving them an inheritance.

This trend about teaching the importance of money as well as passing along family traditions, values and history is an extension of the results of the 2012 and 2005 Allianz studies. In both studies, only four percent of the boomer participants said that an inheritance is “owed” to them. Twenty-two percent of the senior citizens felt that they owed their children an inheritance in 2005; however, by 2012, that number had decreased to fourteen percent. This could be a result of the economy or the fact that some senior citizens are outliving their inheritance.

Planning for the Future High Priority for Both Groups

Both the boomers and the senior citizens made planning for the future a high priority. Over eighty percent of the individuals in both groups emphasized the importance of having a plan in place in the event they were to become seriously ill, terminal or permanently unconscious. Another desire is to avoid family conflict for both monetary and health decisions.

Senior citizens especially wanted to ensure that they had plans in place for the end of their life. Almost seventy-five percent had met with estate planning professionals to ensure they have the proper documents in place. They also have discussed their wishes and estate plans with their children. However, less than half of the boomers have discussed estate planning with their children and only twenty-five percent of boomers have taken the step to plan their estates.

Estate Planning – Leaving a Legacyliving together

In order to help your children learn good lessons about providing for their own end-of-life issues, provide them with a good example by meeting with an estate planning professional to plan for your own end-of-life issues. Discuss these plans with your children including your wishes regarding healthcare directives, incapacity and death. Discuss the various estate planning documents that you have chosen to use to provide for you and your family and why they were important to you. Suggest your children meet with an estate planning professional to discuss their needs and to begin making their own plans. Do this now before illness or aging interfere and make it impossible.

In order to leave your family legacy of history and traditions, take steps to leave a lasting memory for your children by:
• Writing your family history through a collection of essays, stories, memoirs and antidotes;
• Scrapbook or arrange photos in photo albums dedicated to certain periods of time or special occasions that your family shared;
• Encourage elders to tell stories when you are together at family gatherings. Tape those stores so that you can store them for future generations;
• Create a family medical history with important data that future members may need or want;
• Create a photo collection of special family heirlooms or memorabilia in case they are lost; and,
• Create a family tree with names and dates of births, marriages, deaths, etc.

It is important that you leave your children a family legacy. Great wealth can never replace a sense of family and history.


For more information contact our office to schedule a consultation with the attorneys at Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC. Their experience and knowledge can help you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a plan. Contact Attorney Daniel J. Krause or Nelson W. Donovan today.

Reach us through our website or call our office at (608) 268-5751 to schedule your confidential, no obligation initial consultation