Memories and Mementos: What matters Most?

So here we are with Hayden, Greg and Tucker. Tucker is my youngest son. Tell everyone something about yourself Tucker.

TM– I’m twelve years old, I go to TJ and my name is Tucker McIntyre.

Greg– Hayden was talking to him about our subject matter today, and he had things to contribute. We’re talking about Memories and mementos, what matters most? I wanted to do this because, when I meet with clients, sometimes there are tearful moments about what matters most to them.

I met someone this week and it made me think about what matters most to me. Sometimes, even though there might be one to three hundred thousand dollars in investments, many times, especially to seniors, it’s the little things that matter. It’s the stuff in your house, the really important stuff that you want to leave your children or grandchildren. And this made me think about things in my house, that when I touch them, or look at them, they bring me right back to that time and place. I should have brought my baseball glove. I meant to because that baseball glove I had in high school, it takes me back to the smell of cut grass and many years on the baseball diamond, and how much I loved and missed it. Or I’ll look back in photo albums, and you get lost in those moments. Those things carry so much sentimental value.

Do you have anything of sentimental value that you own?

What about you Tucker?

TM– Yeah, in 3rd grade, Miss Domes, was my favorite teacher, and my 3rd grade class spent the night at the Greenville zoo, and they had these things where the animal had stepped in them, and we painted it and it had your name on it, and it’s really cool because it’s the animal paw print, and I kept that.

Greg– And you’ll probably keep it as long as you can, and when you look at it, you’ll remember that whole event. It has a story. I think these are the most important things we can pass on, the memorabilia and stories. Now money makes things happen, sends the kids to college right? And that’s important to pass on too, and we do that here at McIntyre Elder Law, but really the sentimental things, the little things, you want to develop a mechanism to pass those on. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Didn’t you tell Miss Hayden what you wanted me to pass on to you?

TM– Yes.

Greg– And what was it you wanted most of mine?

TM– You’re money. No, I’m just kidding. I’d like this Mickey mouse thing, it’s like this stuffed animal that you kept, and it’s really cool.

Greg– The stuffed animal of Mickey Mouse that if you pump the hand, the legs walk?

TM– I didn’t know that.

Greg– Yeah, if you pump the hands, the legs walk. It’s an old Mickey Mouse that I had when I was a kid, and the second I see it I remember being a kid. Or the weird leather ET. I don’t know where it is, it’s somewhere. My parents bought me a leather ET, because they were told I was allergic to stuff, so I had to have a leather stuffed animal, so I have no love for the puffy stuffed animals. I was a sad child, just a white room with a leather ET in it. So, anyway, those things take me back to when I was a kid.

What about you Hayden?

Hayden– I’ve got several things, I don’t know that they fall under the same category. My father made me a chest of drawers and a bed, and he made it from scratch, raw wood, and he made me a Celtic heart, and it’s beautiful. The wood is beautiful. I think of the little things that bring back memories to me. I collected shells from three states, Alaska, Texas, and Vermont. One of the things I collected in the Bahamas was, it’s like a sand dollar but it’s more fragile, it hardly weighs anything. And when I was in the Bahamas, I met people who were shellers and beach combers, and met a lady who told me where to get these things. It was so fragile that when you touch one, it crushed into nothing. And what you had to do was dig the sand out from under it and lift it out, and this is the only one I have left. You have to know where to find them, and you have to get them at a certain tide level. I worked to get this one.

Greg– For those who don’t know, you lived for about 2 years on the sea didn’t you?

Hayden– Well, I lived on a sailboat, and we made crossings to the Bahamas, but we stayed mostly in the Abacos and Exumers, Bahamas, and I collected shells there. It’s not for everybody but I was meant for that life. And something else I collected in the Bahamas was conch shells, and we ate them. To get them out, there’s a hole where you use a little claw hammer and release the conch out of there, and they are nasty to clean but they are the most unique tasting food I’ve ever had.

Greg– I’ve had conch, a little rubbery,

Hayden– What you have to do is, you have to take one of those mallets with the little points on them, and pound it until it’s as thin as lace. That’s the only way to eat it otherwise you’ll be chewing for a long time.

This sign is really important to me, because when my children and I moved into a house, it was after a marriage ended, and I wanted peace, and no fighting and no arguing. This is Latin, and what it means is, ‘small house, great peace.’ I’ve had that for 50 something years, and I’ve lived by this, and everybody in my home has lived by this.

TM– George Washington’s great great grandchildren, you know what they have? They have his teeth.

Greg– That’s what they wanted as memorabilia?

TM– No, that’s just a joke, I made that up.

Greg– That’s pretty horrible. So why is that bust of George Washington important to you Hayden?

Hayden– I’ve always been somewhat political. At aged 22, I was the registrar in my precinct. And later on, after child bearing and child raising, I became aware of things that were bothering me. So I went to a rally in Washington, and the first door I went into, I saw this bust of George Washington. He’s always been a figure in history who was important to me. I admire him greatly, and I learned a lot about him. There are some who are more gallant and more heroic and passionate, but he exemplifies that very well, and when I saw that, I bought it, and it reminds me every day that I care and love my country.

One more thing. This is my Irish Santa. My grandson has red hair, it’s subtle but red. And he told me one day, he didn’t like it, and I showed him this Santa, and I said, that red hair was a gift from your ancestors who were Irish. They came over here, and they were hard workers and established themselves. And I said, where you came from is important, and the red hair is a sign of where you came from. So he likes this Irish Santa, and someday this will be his.

Greg– I just brought a couple of things I had in the office. This is a picture of me in the military in uniform when I was 21, when I graduated from my training school.

Hayden– You went around the world in that uniform didn’t you?

Greg– Man, yes I have been around the world. Another thing is this picture of a project I worked on with a tech company, when I first got out of the military. That’s where I made the inside cover of ‘Newsweek’. Those things really matter to me, and I’ve got baseball gloves at home, and pictures of different things, my diplomas on the wall, I put a lot of work into those.

So how do we pass these things on? How have you seen people pass on memorabilia like that?

Hayden– Well, my mother’s trying to pass things on now, and I can’t take that, it just doesn’t seem right. I’ll take them after she passes them on to me. Apart from that, I’ve seen people fight over the most insignificant of things. It might be grandma’s tea kettle, that she made tea in every day of her life, but both the sisters want it. Or, grandpa’s old shotgun, that he used to hunt with. There are ways to stop your children from fighting. I would rather they be mad at me in the grave than with each other alive.

Greg– So how are you going to tell your kids, I want this child to have the Irish Santa, and this child has the George Washington bust?

I’ve seen people put yard sale stickers on the back of paintings, on furniture with the name of their kids or grand kids on it. They’ve identified who the memorabilia will go to, these small, untitled assets, not the house, not the car, just everything in the house, with a sticker.

Hayden– I’ve heard of people putting information on the back of objects to say where it came from, if it had any kind of personal significance, if it was an original.

Greg– That’s a smart thing to do.

Hayden– Yes, because it could be very valuable, or valuable to someone. You can see art in museums that if you found that at someone’s house and didn’t know it was painted by Picasso or Van Gogh or someone like that, it’s going in the yard sale.

Greg– There’s been famous paintings sold at yard sales before. I’ll tell you what we do with our wills. We have something called a ‘Personal Property Memorandum.’ It would have the person’s name on it, and you would be able to write the description of the tangible personal property item, and the person who is going to receive it, their address and relationship. So my son Tucker McIntyre, his address at that time, and the item. And then if I want my wife to get the item, and I only want Tucker to get it if my wife pre-deceases me, then I put a star by that item. We furnish several pages. If you have a lot of stuff, we can do as many pages as you need. You can even come back and get more pages. We have found that is a really nice way of passing personal property.

Now, we have a clause in our wills, that is the distribution of tangible personal property on the memorandum, and it directs your executor to distribute all your small personal property items, sentimental items by this memorandum. You just put this with your will. So that’s a neat way to do it. And I think our clients really like that, especially the wives.

There are certainly other large items that you can save and pass on, like your home, and we have different strategies for that, like trusts, Ladybird deeds, but we just wanted to talk about memories and mementos.

Thanks for joining us at the conference table for mementos and memories and what matters most.

If you have any questions you would like to ask me any questions about the above article please call me at McIntyre Elder Law, 704 259–7040, or you can find us on Facebook and twitter @LawyerGreg. So leave a question or a comment, I do answer any questions and comments throughout the week so get writing.

Greg McIntyre

Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street

Shelby, NC 28150


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Greg McIntyre, JD, MBA

Meet Greg McIntyre

Greg McIntyre, founder of McIntyre Elder Law, is more than just an attorney. As a Navy Veteran, father to six kids, and a loving husband, he values family deeply. This drives his commitment to helping clients safeguard their futures and pass down legacies.

Greg has a passion to help people. Beyond just legal advice, he loves having conversations and strives to build a long-term relationship with every clients that comes through his door.

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