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Everyone in Texas knows that you can’t take it with you when you die. But what might have been important to one generation quickly turns into a dust-gathering memento for the inheritor. It’s a trend the nation has been seeing more frequently lately, especially when it comes to family heirlooms.

The question we pose to our readers this week is whether they themselves have a plan for their family heirlooms. While some families are meticulous about handing things down through the generations, a growing majority of younger generations fail to see the sentimental value or importance these treasures once held to previous generations. As a result, things that were once valued are being sold to second-hand stores, away from family members they may have been intended for.

While you can’t take these things with you, a person can ensure that a treasured memento, such as a hand-carved hope chest or a set of formal china, stays in the family. This can be done through estate planning documents such as wills. A person can specify not only an inheritor of an object but can leave instructions to that person about what should be done with that object down the road.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your family members about your belongs as well. Divvying them up before your passing can not only save you time when preparing your will but you can have those serious conversations with your loved ones about why certain objects are important to you. By conveying your sentimental attachment to something, your loved ones may be more inclined to keep it in their possession down the road.

One of the major problems inheritors say they run into is having the room to put the belongings they inherit. One way to remedy this problem is to discuss estate sales. This way, the person passing on items can decide which ones they would like to see sold instead of later inheritors trying to figure out if selling something is “really what they would have wanted.”

Having these discussions and making these decisions are all part of a solid estate plan. Because in the end, if you can’t take it with you, make sure you determine its future before it’s too late.

Source: Wicked Local, “No longer save for generations, family heirlooms are being shed,” Kim Palmer, June 4, 2013