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Letters From Listeners

Book of Treasures


My husband's parents have 10 children, and they have the best system I've ever heard of for "divvying out" their possessions and inheritance.

First, they maintain a "Book of Our Treasures" which contains pictures of their most treasured possessions - and not necessarily only highly-priced items, but even simple things of sentimental value. It is like a very large photo album, but with a paper sheet beside each photo. The story or history of each item is included with its photo, so that we all know WHY they consider it a 'treasure'. It was exciting to find handmade gifts I had given them in their Book of Treasures!

The book is brought to our annual family reunions, and family members are invited to write their name beside the items they are most interested in receiving someday, after the parents pass away. There is even a section of items that are intended for children, where the grandkids and great-grands can write their names! In some cases there are many names next to an item. It is understood by all of us that some day the parents will decide who will receive each item, whether by drawing or by their choice.

This is the fun part for the parents: They have already begun gifting some of the items to family members! As they feel ready to part with things, they bring them to the winners of the drawings or the child they chose, in person. This way, they get to enjoy the recipient's excitement while they are still living. The winner is highlighted in the Book of Treasures so that everyone knows who the new keeper of the Treasure is!

It's very fun for the whole family, as we all maintain that the attitude that nothing in the book belongs to us, anyway, and it's all bonus IF we happen to win it. The parents try to be very fair in their decisions about who will receive which items, likely maintaining a separate master list of their children and which items they will receive - with 10 kids you would have to!

It's also really fun for ME to see that other family members are interested in owning the things I had made for my in-laws.

The second thing I really like is that they have set aside extra funds that they know they won't need at this point, divided it evenly between the ten kids, and surprised us with monetary gifts while they are living.

These wise Mormon parents are planning ahead to avoid problems between their children in the future. They are wise and loving people who have blessed our lives in ways we will probably appreciate even more as time goes by.

Sadly, Mom passed away from cancer, but her legacy of love for her family remains strong. And each of us has little mementos to remind us of her every day.

Tags: Appreciate, Attitude, Death of a parent, Family/Relationships - Family, Relationships, Relatives
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