A little while back I posted about Whole Family Wealth™ – what it is and why I believe it is the most fulfilling way for an and individual or family to plan for their future (click here to read the post).  A good friend of mine followed up with a suggestion for an addition to Whole Family Wealth Planning – family recipes.  What a great idea!  I thought the story was so good that I ought to share it with you:

To me, one of the biggest parts of a family’s memories and traditions is Mom’s recipes. By the time kids reach adulthood, cooking has usually changed dramatically from their childhood. This is probably true for just about any generation. But most kids fondly remember the things their mothers made when they were children.

I thought about this a few years ago. My sisters and I frequently laughed and remembered some of the things our mom made when we were little. Like most people, her version of many standard recipes had little idiosyncracies, and there were some things that were not standard. Like Glowacki Chicken (Mom named a lot of recipes after the person that had given them to her). She also used to make ketchup gravy for pork chops, dandelion greens (which I still can’t stand to this day but my sisters go over once a year for dandelion green dinner) and oxtails.

So a few years ago I decided to make each of my siblings a cookbook of all of mom’s old recipes. I took her main cookbook that she’d used for decades and went through picking out the ones I wanted. For each one, I asked her if it was correct as written or if she did something different. If different, I noted it in the margin. I also asked her for recipes that I remembered but didn’t find in the cookbook so I could write those down. She actually insisted on typing them out for me – to make sure she got them right.

I made copies of all the them and put them in tabbed 3-ring binders. My sisters and brother were really surprised and happy to get it. I just wanted to make sure that when my mom passes, I could still have her biscuits and gravy if I wanted.

And it would be my guess that she and her siblings would value those recipes as much (or more) than any financial inheritance they may receive.  See, the “intangible assets” we all have are far more valuable than any financial assets, yet very few individuals and families take the time to include the values, insights, stories and experiences in their planning . . . and few professionals make it a priority or even know how to do it.

What do you think?  What “intangible” do you miss most about your parents, grandparents, friends, etc.?  What “intangible” of yours would you most want your children and grandchildren to know about and benefit from?

Contact us today to begin creating a plan based on your Whole Family Wealth™.

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, and family owned business succession – and he is privileged to do so from a Christian perspective.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.