The Hidden Powers of Family Heirlooms

Meanwhile, our family's conversation by email about the destiny of the violin turned into an occasion to honor long dormant memories of Grandpa Oscar and Grandma Bess, who predeceased him by two years. Two of their seven grandchildren did not reply to my email. What emerged from the others was the softer side of a man who, for all his limitations, wanted desperately to connect with them. 

Objects of inheritance seem to be imbued with a special power. This is oftentimes the case, whether the family is aware of it yet or not. As one sitting down to put your intentions to paper, or even as the inheritor, it is a power worth pondering.

There are always the goals and intentions of the planning parent, of course. Nevertheless, more often than not, it is the family that sees the peculiar power of an heirloom. Maybe it is something well-loved and fought over, or the heirloom may simply provide the tinder to which a disgruntled heir may choose to set match and light a fire.

Recently, Forbes considered this common source of family discord in an article titled "When It's Time To Part With Family Heirlooms, And Why I Gave Away Grandpa Oscar's Violin."

You cannot make all of the mistakes in life yourself, so it is best to learn from the trials (and errors) of others. Be sure to read the original article as it is really far from a tale of fighting, divvying up, or even maximizing sale returns. No, this article provides fresh insights into the kinds of special moments an inherited object can bring to a family well after the loved one has past. Each family member had a piece of the story behind this particular violin chronicled in the original article, and, therefore, they all walked away learning a bit more about Uncle Oscar.

For more information about estate planning, please visit our website.

Reference: Forbes (March 31, 2014) "When It's Time To Part With Family Heirlooms, And Why I Gave Away Grandpa Oscar's Violin"

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