One of the things you need to prepare for when you’ve reached your retirement age is your will. It is a document that lists all your properties and assets and how you want them to be distributed when you’re no longer here. While it might seem too soon to think about this uncomfortable topic, it’s still something that needs to be carefully planned to make everyone’s life a little easier as they handle the grief of losing a loved one. In that sense, it’s good to know what things your children might or might not actually want to see as a part of their inheritance.
Preparing a list of things you want your kids to inherit might save you a lot of time, especially when you have a lot of things in mind that you want to pass on to them. You might think that your collection of plates and curtains might be an ideal inheritance to give, but they might not be the things that your kids expect to receive — nor want.
It’s not that including these items as a form of inheritance is bad, but there’s a high chance that they will only end up disposing of them, especially when they do not serve a specific purpose. If you want to make your children’s life a little bit easier if you pass away unexpectedly, here are 12 things that they might actually want to inherit.
Cash is the classic and ideal asset to hand down to your kids. It’s convenient and easy to access, and you can earn interest over time if you have it in a savings account. Additionally, it provides a great deal of ease as cash can be easily divided depending on how many people will receive it and how much each one will have. This can make splitting the inheritance easier and avoid conflict between siblings.
One reason why your kids might want to inherit cash is because of how versatile it is—they can use it to buy anything they want or invest it to make it grow. Cash also provides an easy way to send money to others and share their wealth. They can even share and send cash to a friend if they ever need to. For example, they may invest it in other assets like properties or stocks or even a personal enterprise, which will provide an opportunity for your children to earn income from their inheritance. This freedom of use and flexibility make cash the first thing your kids will want to inherit.
#2 An annuity
An annuity is a great asset to pass down to your children. Inherited annuities have several advantages like tax benefits, especially if they’re non-qualified annuities you paid for with after-tax dollars. By annuitizing an annuity, your children can convert it into a steady and dependable income stream to help cover their living expenses either for a predefined period of time, or for life if the original annuity contract was set up as a multy-life annuity.
While annuities like the ones mentioned above can be financially complicated to set up and also quite expensive, they do offer simplicity for your heirs.
Besides the pleasure of each others’ company, there’s a reason why the family flocks together at grandma’s house during the holidays, no matter how far they are, and that’s because of the sumptuous food that tastes like no other. Whether it’s a secret recipe for your classic stuffed turkey or the chocolate chip cookies your grandkids line up for every weekend, your kids will definitely be happy to receive a cookbook full of all their favorite recipes with annotations and footnotes with all your little culinary secrets.
It is both a sentimental and useful inheritance to have, and it preserves the tradition within the family, even when you are no longer around to make the food. You’ll be surprised how many successful restaurants and gastronomic products started with “grandma’s recipe.”
That comfort-food feeling you get when you taste your mother’s food isn’t easily replicated. When it comes to good food that only the hands of a parent can make, a record of how it’s done is worth having and passing down.
#4 Family photos
As much as your kids may look like they only enjoy things that have monetary value, there are many things that they’ll consider worth having, and old family photos are one of them. While today we have thousands of pictures on our mobile phones, it’s still nice for kids to have something tangible like an old-fashioned polaroid photo that captures moments that are worth keeping for a lifetime.
Photos never fail to remind someone of something beautiful that has happened in the past, even when they are no longer there to rekindle that moment. Having a physical photograph that your kids know you held in your hands, that you had in a real photo album, is something they’ll value and cherish for life.
#5 Trust Funds
A trust fund is a type of asset that helps your kids manage their inheritances wisely. If you are going to be handing them down a huge amount of money and perhaps a couple of properties, there’s a chance that conflicts may arise. Other people might file for a claim on those assets, or your kids might end up fighting among themselves. Even if they don’t, they could splurge and dilapidate all their inheritance through reckless spending on useless things.
The biggest perk of setting up a trust fund for your kids is that it allows them to properly allocate the money over different uses so that they don’t go about spending it on things that do not matter. You can also set it up so your loved ones will only have access to the money at a certain age and point in time. They probably won’t like these limitations at first, but they’ll definitely be thankful once they’re more mature and realize the value of investing in the future.
Believe it or not, your kids may be interested in inheriting your furniture as well, especially if it’s something different and hard to find. Accent pieces that are timeless and fit the interior of almost any house. Many are definitely worth keeping, and it can save your kids a couple of hundred dollars when they’re moving to a new apartment or house.
#7 Vinyl Records
Besides the great music they contain, vinyl records are also collectible items that only gain value as time passes. Do you have an original Jimmy Hendricks album from the 70s that’s in pristine condition? I’m sure your vintage-loving millennial kids will be more than happy to keep it for years to come.
If your child grew up listening to vinyl records that have become a collection in the family, chances are they’ll want to have them. Nothing beats a classic Pink Floyd or The Beatles vinyl to take a trip down memory lane, and your kids will be more than happy to know that you have these records ready for them to take in the future.
Just like photos, music can evoke pleasant memories, and it’s always a good decision to leave something for your kids that will serve as a memento of the things you loved doing back in the day. Your children and loved ones will certainly thank you for this, and they’ll still have a piece of you with them even after you have passed on.
#8 Life Insurance
If you want to leave money for your children but worry that the taxes might take a big chunk of it, life insurance is a viable option. The main purpose of applying for life insurance is to avoid your family facing financial difficulties relative to your passing.
Because of the tax-free feature of life insurance policies, it’s a great idea to set one up with your children as beneficiaries. When the time comes, and the funds are available, they will be able to receive the amount in full, and you’ll have achieved your goal of leaving something valuable for your family without any deductions.
#9 Real Estate
After working hard all your life, you may have acquired some valuable properties. These could be the best thing you could ever leave for your kids. Real estate assets are a safe investment that has historically grown throughout the years, so passing these properties down to your kids is a surefire way to protect their financial future.
Additionally, if the property or properties you leave behind are something that stores shared memories, your kids will feel more connected with this inheritance.
#10 A Business
A family business is a common asset often passed down to children as an inheritance, sometimes while parents are still alive. An established business is a great inheritance because it not only has monetary value upfront, but it’s also a source of steady income. This alone can mean your kids will be set up for life financially. When you’re no longer around to provide for them, this can be invaluable.
You should take this with a grain of salt, though, because businesses can fail as much as they can thrive, depending on how they’re managed. So, make sure that the enterprise you are leaving behind is not something that has acquired debts through the years but is profitable and will provide the children with a steady income. Teaching your kids how to run a business from an early age will prepare them for the unlikely scenario that they may need to take care of your family business soon.
#11 Brokerage Accounts
Another form of financial inheritance that is not cash but that can provide long-term value is a brokerage account. These include stocks and bonds that you can start trading while you are still alive, then delegate to your children over time as the account’s value rises.
One of the best things about having these brokerage accounts is how easily divisible they are. If you have several children to whom you want to leave the stocks, you can easily divide the assets among them.
Stocks are also easy to liquidate or convert into cash, so if your kids ever need money, they can simply sell them through the brokerage account.
#12 Quality education fund
Quality education isn’t cheap in America. Students are often caught up in student loans by the time they graduate, and rather than spending the rest of their lives doing amazing things and checking things off their bucket lists, your children might have to work for a long time to pay off those debts.
This is why educational savings plans are a great inheritance for your children. Not only will it save them from years of financial struggle, but it will also give them a chance to take on career paths they’re passionate about. In the US, you’ll find options like the 529 plan you can apply for to save up enough money for your children’s future education. Depending on which variation of the plan you get, you will have to pay varying amounts, and your children will also be entitled to an array of benefits.
The Bottom Line
Death isn’t something most people like to think about, and it’s definitely not something most people are comfortable planning for. However, putting your children’s happiness and well-being on the table puts things into perspective. This is why you must start thinking of what you’ll leave behind immediately in case of an unwanted and unexpected early departure.
These twelve inheritance ideas are just suggestions of what your kids will likely appreciate. They’ll make their lives a little easier, and once they’re mature enough to realize their true potential, they’ll be even happier to have them. Whether it is something that carries sentimental value or an actual financial asset that can be traded in exchange for cash, what matters more is the underlying intention of leaving behind something that will help them out in times of need and remind them of you always after you’re gone.