There’s a lot to consider when you’re developing your estate plan. Your biggest concern is obviously how you’ll divide your assets among loved ones and charitable organizations that mean a lot to you. Have you considered how you’ll pass down information about your family heritage to your children and future generations?
Too often, after people pass away, their loved ones are left with scrapbooks, old documents and mementos, but they don’t know the stories behind them or who those people in the photos who look vaguely like them are and how they’re related. They have questions, but they have to go to Ancestry.com to try to get answers – and those answers may be incomplete or confusing if they have little information to start with.
Leaving a family tree
There’s a reason that TV shows where celebrities find out about their ancestors are so popular. Most people want to know about previous generations of their family, what brought them to the U.S. and how they played a role in America’s history – for better or worse.
Even if no one has ever expressed an interest in these things, that doesn’t mean that grandchildren and others who are still very young or haven’t been born yet won’t. You may even find something that would be valuable to local historical societies if an ancestor played a role in building a city or in an important event.
This can be part of the legacy you leave behind. You can get a lot of information for a relatively small fee on Ancestry.com and complete a family tree as far back as you’re able to. Let your family know that it’s there so they can find it and add to it over the years. It’s a good idea to mention it in your estate plan.
Leaving DNA information
You may also want to do a DNA test through Ancestry or another source. Some tests focus on ancestry information, like what kinds of ethnicities are in your lineage. Others, like 23andme, provide ancestry as well as genetic health information. This can be valuable now and for future generations.
Designate a beneficiary for your DNA sample in your estate plan. Some companies have a beneficiary program, also.
Incorporating ancestry and genetic information in your estate plan can be one of the more valuable assets you leave behind.