Do You Have a Family Recipe to Share in Your Estate Plan? 

As you gather around the table this holiday season, the Palmer & Slay team hopes you get to enjoy all the pleasures of the holiday season — time with family and friends, a few football games, and of course some delicious food. If your family is anything like our families, there are a few signature dishes that will appear on the table and leave everyone’s mouths watering. 

In our families, the recipes for these favorite snacks and sides have been passed down from generation to generation. At first, this knowledge sharing came by hovering around the kitchen as a child, hoping to lick the spoon. Now, after some loved ones have passed away without teaching us how to whip up their signature dish, we have started writing things down to make sure the next generation can keep our family traditions alive. 

Thinking about passing things down to the next generation got us thinking about estate planning — no surprise! — and we started to wonder if anyone out there was incorporating family recipes into their estate plans. And the answer is yes! 

Using Trusts To Protect Valuable Family Secrets 

A recipe that has significant commercial or even sentimental value to a family could, in theory, be transferred to a trust to ensure it — and any wealth it may generate — is kept in the family. 

A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person, called the trustee, holds assets for the benefit of another person or persons, called the beneficiaries. Trusts can be set up in many different ways, and can specify how and when the assets will be used or ultimately transferred to the beneficiaries. In this way, trusts can provide a degree of control and protection over assets that simply handing them over to a family member cannot. 

Most of the time the assets placed in a trust are tangible objects like real estate, guns, or money, but it is also possible to put intangible objects in a trust. A family that wanted to preserve a recipe could do so by placing ownership of it in trust. 

A Recipe Set In Stone 

A number of food lovers who were not worried about keeping their famous recipes a secret have opted to share their recipes on their headstones. This may sound like a strange idea, but as one woman who has become well-known for seeking out and cooking up graveyard fare put it, “The two things we inevitably do in life is we eat food and then we die someday. And it’s this weird shared experience.”

Anyone interested in including a recipe of their headstone should obviously discuss this choice with their loved ones, and may want to make arrangements for this ahead of time. It is never a good idea to leave specific wishes like this in your estate planning documents without talking about them with your loved ones. If your family doesn’t know what your last requests are, they might end up making — and later regretting — decisions you would disagree with. 

If you need help putting your estate planning ideas to paper, the Palmer & Slay team is ready to assist you. We can customize your plan to fit your unique needs, even if it means helping you figure out how to put your cookie recipe on your tombstone!

Preserving Your Wealth. Protecting Your Loved Ones.

So there you have it, a quick and dirty summary of a couple of ways to pass on your famous (or infamous) family recipes to the next generation. Or a great way to change the subject during dinner when your Aunt starts talking about politics!