More Than Just ‘My Will’
More Than Just My Will: Recording the Stories of Your Family Heirlooms
Leaving something for the next generation is about more than simply passing on financial resources, homes, and treasured heirlooms. The objects that are special to your family deserve to have their stories told, preserved, and passed on through the generations with them.
What to Share
Mentioning an heirloom in your will is one way to pass the item down to the next generation, but it can feel impersonal. You can make the item even more special by including the following information about it:
- Who owned it first? Was in your grandmother, her mother , or someone
- How did that person get this item?
- Do you remember any funny or special moments involving this piece?
- Why do you think a particular person in your family would like to have this
Label, Label, Label
Just as it’s important to label family photos and documents, it’s also essential that you identify the objects that are special. You may remember your grandmother playing music on her treasured piano, but your grandchildren don’t share that memory. Your grandmother and her story are a big part of what makes the piano special. Labeling your antiques and heirlooms can help your family understand their stories.
There are options when it comes to labeling. You can simply write a few words about an item on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the bottom of the piece. Alternatively, you could type up a detailed description of the item and its story and tape that on. This approach works well for larger pieces, such as furniture.
Make an Heirloom Album
Since many objects, like crystal and jewelry, are too small for direct labeling, a photo album may be a better choice. To create an heirloom photo album, you can use a traditional picture album or create a digital one on the computer. If you choose a digital album, have a copy printed for each person mentioned in your will.
To make your album, snap photos of each important heirloom. For an extra touch, have a friend or family member take photos of your using the heirloom. Then pair each photo with a story or a few lines of information.
Create a Video Record of Your Heirlooms
Similar to a photo album, a video record of your heirlooms can help match the object to its story. However, a video is an even more meaningful way to provide the history of a special piece. When you leave your memories about each item on video, it preserves your voice, mannerisms, and story along with the information.
You can create your own video with a friend or family member or incorporate heirlooms into a professional video biography. Either way, your family will love this record of your history. (See Samples)
More Than a Will
Your will is an important legal document that tells how you’d like your property divided. However, it doesn’t include the essential information about your heirlooms and their stories. For that, you may need to get creative. Whether you choose to label your treasures with masking tape or record your memories on video, your family, from your ancestors to your descendants, will be extremely grateful.
Family Line Studios
Legacy Video Production
Chicago & beyond
Websites & Forums