Spring Newsletter 2023

Cherished Heirlooms

Heirlooms are part of our family history. As a law firm that helps people with putting their estate planning wishes in place and then carrying out those wishes through the probate or trust administration process, we get to hear a lot of fascinating stories about people’s heirlooms. The passing of heirlooms from generation to generation is a way to keep loved ones who may no longer be with us joyfully alive in our hearts. In this newsletter, we have chosen to share some of our own cherished heirloom stories with you.

Stephanie – Attorney   

One of my family treasures is a quilt that was made by my grandmother. It is a favorite for several reasons. First, it is the warmest and coziest blanket I own. Whenever I bring it out, the cats immediately jump up and start to jockey for position on it (sometimes I have to remind them that it is mine and they have to share). Second, it reminds me of my grandmother teaching me how to sew as I was growing up.

My grandmother was a professional seamstress and I can’t ever remember her house without a sewing machine or her without a project. I was so fortunate that she had the patience to introduce a child to what has become a hobby I have enjoyed my whole life. When I was younger, it was all about sewing for fashion. When I got my first house, it was all about sewing for décor. Now, it is all about learning to make my own quilts.

I love walking into a fabric store and wondering what each bolt of fabric wants to become. The possibilities are as limitless as my imagination (especially with quilting). I am so grateful that my grandmother passed the heirloom of creativity through sewing down to me!

Amelia – Client Services Coordinator

My most cherished family heirloom is a childhood memory or, I should say, more like an experience. My parents owned and operated a commercial printing business wherein, as a child, I’d wander the various departments like a maze opening itself up, room after room of interesting sights and smells.  My memories are of time spent studying the camera and film department, listening to the rhythmic hum of the printing press, and feeling the texture and weight of paper. As a young adult, I later worked alongside my family honing my skills within those walls I’d explored as a child. This life experience shaped my interest in the creative arts and will always be looked upon as a cherished family heirloom.

Amy – Client Services Coordinator

The family heirloom that my mother gave me wasn’t a piece of jewelry or a vintage item, but it was something much more valuable – her love of the theater.  As a child, my mom would surprise me (always on Wednesday – matinee day!) by pulling me out of school and taking me on a magical journey in Manhattan to see a matinee performance of a Broadway show. I remember sitting in the audience in awe, watching the talented performers sing and dance on stage. It was during these special outings that I fell in love with the theater. Over the years, I saw many famous performers in the original cast of various Broadway shows. Even as an adult, my love for the theater has stayed with me, and I always think back fondly to those unforgettable Wednesdays spent with my mother.

Candy – Marketing Coordinator

My cherished heirloom is a simple antique 3-footed piano stool. Made from cherry wood, my mother would regally perch, at her dressing table, on its 12-inch square gold velvet seat as she selected what to apply – be it lotion, perfume, makeup, scarves or jewelry – to embellish her countenance each day. To my young 1950s eyes, her daily ministrations created a miraculous, ever-changing symphony of sights and smells that I’ll never forget. Her piano stool now holds a place of honor in my own bedroom, waiting to be passed along to my mother’s great-granddaughter.

 

Personal Property Memorandums
Give You Flexibility for Your Heirlooms

Almost every parent sits in my office and tells me that all they really want is for their children not to fight over inheritance. For the most part, these parents are imagining potential familial fights over money. However, many times, the fights and hurt feelings are actually over “stuff,” which is more formally known as tangible personal property.

If you know that one of your children has a special attachment to a necklace, for example, you may want to take an extra step towards maintaining the peace by specifically stating that child will inherit the necklace. You can give this specific gift of the necklace to this specific child either through your Will or by using a separate document called a Personal Property Memorandum.

The difference between using the Will or the Personal Property Memorandum is that if you include the wish in your Will and you change your mind, you have to change the Will and that involves going through the formal signing ceremony again with the witnesses, etc. If you instead use the Personal Property Memorandum to convey your wish and you change your mind, all you have to do is fill out a new Personal Property Memorandum – no witnesses required!

There are limitations as to what types of items can be inherited using a Personal Property Memorandum and there has to be special language in the Will that refers to the Personal Property Memorandum, so you do want to work with your attorney to make sure that everything is set up properly. Lastly, if you do use the Personal Property Memorandum, make sure you keep it in the same place as your Will because it can’t speak for you if we can’t find it!

Is there someone special who you want to inherit one or more of your heirlooms?

 

THE Talk*

(*No, not THAT Talk)

Edwards Elder Law, in conjunction with Barlowe & Associates, was pleased to debut our educational presentation “The Talk” on May 18, 2023,  at Westminster Suncoast. “The Talk” is designed to help families maintain family harmony as they navigate potentially difficult (and divisive) conversations in regard to their parents’ end-of-life philosophy. The goal is for attendees to learn the “how to” of defining and discussing this pertinent information with loved ones, be they the parent or the adult child, to ensure this important family journey is a smooth-sailing success.

After all, remember when Mom and Dad had all the answers? They still do.

If you belong to an organization that might benefit from this educational presentation, please contact Stephanie at 727-209-8282 for more details.

 

Words of Wisdom from Our Pets

“I’m a Precious Possession, Too!”

as provided by Candy’s cat, Cleopatra

I understand all this talk about cherished heirlooms, really I do. My passed-down treasure is my much-enjoyed felt mousy, given to me by my foster mom the day I became Candy’s companion. But with all this talk about the past, I hope all of you will stay focused on the here and now, too. Please don’t forget to include plans for any and all beloved pets, just like me, when putting your final wishes in your Will. We hope you’ll find someone fun for us to live with, someone who will consider us pets to be priceless possessions like you do.

 

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