– Sophia Petrillo, Golden Girls
Fun fact: When we came up with the title of this newsletter, we were not thinking about the Golden Girls; however, as soon as the words were typed, we heard Estelle Getty’s voice and, literally, couldn’t stop laughing. Now the voice and the delivery of that infamous line will be stuck in your head, so YOU’RE WELCOME!
The actual reason for the title came from the priority and emphasis that one of our recent clients put on family pictures when creating her estate plan. The woman did not have a lot of material possessions or financial assets, but wanted to make sure that what she did have was protected and would go where she intended. She spent months finalizing her intentions. To her daughter, her wedding ring. To a second daughter, her angles. To another child, some collectible dolls. What struck us was the specificity of a gift that she gave to each person: photographs of themselves with her.
At first, we were a bit surprised with the detail to which she gave the sharing of her photographs. More often than not, photographs are not mentioned and they go in the general pile of personal property to be distributed after death. She had already assembled envelopes with photographs therein, but also wanted her wishes known in writing.
We couldn’t help but think about what she was really gifting with the photographs: memories. Do people enjoy gifts of real estate, diamonds and artwork? Of course, but the items which are usually sought are the more sentimental things, like Caesar salad recipes, a homemade blanket or favorite candy dishes. What most people really want when someone passes away is to preserve our memories of them and recollection of experiences that were shared.
When clients are pondering how to distribute assets, we typically recommend that their personal items go into a Letter of Attachment. The document sits on the side of the will and can be changed at leisure without the need for formal execution. We recommend that this is where people leave heartfelt messages, as well as those sentimental items.
In honor of our client, who was a ray of sunshine, we leave you with a little Sophia to brighten your day: