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Exclusive articles, interviews, and insights covering downsizing & decluttering, genealogy, photos and other media, aging well, travel, and more. We’re here to help you capture the big little moments and stories to bring meaning and even order to all of life’s collections for generations.
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LEGACY, PLANNING & MORE
Storytellers, Beware!

Do not lull yourself into thinking stories have been told, social media can speak for you, your ‘stuff’ or photos can speak for you, or anything in between. It's easily done and sometimes nearly if not impossible to bring those stories and histories back. 

Do You Identify With Any of These?

You fancy yourself a storyteller, a history lover, and think you've put a lot of good stories out there in the world. And if they are good enough, they will live on, like a great campfire tale. 

You tell stories now and then but know you have some still have some unique stories to put out in the world. 

You stick to telling a few really good stories and write off the rest as somehow lesser. (This is what we often hear from Arti community members.) 

Let's Improve the Survival Rate of Your Stories

No matter your storytelling style, we have five important questions for you to consider: 

1. Did you tell the story? 

You might not yet have told the story, period. Or maybe you didn't tell this person.

2. Are you sure? 

There's little risk in telling it again. You can always say, "Stop me if I have told you this before ..."

3. Did you tell it more than once? 

Depending on the study, it takes between seven and nine repetitions for someone to reliably remember. Well, maybe if the story is a real doozy there are exceptions!

4. Were they really listening? 

Polite indifference can mask a wandering mind. How sure are you that they were listening? Likewise, crowded family rooms and dinner tables and multi-tasking realities may mean your story didn't travel as far as you think.

5. Were they ready to hear it?

It doesn't count if you told a 5 year old, or a teen bopping along in their own world, with or without headphones, or even someone yet to become a parent who maybe just thinks your story has nothing to do with them. They need to hear it when they are ready to listen.

5 Questions to Help Keep Your Stories Alive

We can lull ourselves into thinking everyone knows our stories, but reality is often quite different, and time is ultimately our shared enemy. Tell it again. Even if you're certain they know the story already, even if the story is only, “My sister gave this to me.” And maybe this time, record it where they can access it always.  

We’re sharing a story each from our founders that they love to tell. Share yours with us at Editor@Artifcts.com to add to this story here in ARTIcles by Artifcts or respond to our post in Instagram or Facebook!

An Artifcted story from @Egoody: "Czech Eggs - It was the wind!"

An Artifcted story from @heather: "My Mother’s Cookbooks

Happy Artifcting!

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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On Aging: Talking About and Planning for Aging

This week we’re taking a break from our usual stuff-centric ARTIcles by Artifcts story to share with you some observations we’ve had over the past few months on all things "On Aging," which is the theme of the American Society on Aging’s 2023 conference. (You can read more about our attendance at this week’s event here.) 
 
We’ve all heard the saying: there are two things in life that are certain—death and taxes. Well, we think it’s time to add an obvious third to the list: aging. There is no avoiding it, and it’s clearly something we don’t talk about or plan for nearly enough.  
 
In 2021, there were 55.8 million people aged 65+ in the United States, and by 2030, the number is expected to rise to 72 million. An AARP poll found that an overwhelming majority of those older adults (77% in fact) want to age in place in their homes. Maybe you or a loved one are in this position? 
 
And yet…how many of them (and us!) know where to turn to find the resources and information to live longer, better, more connected lives either at home or in an independent community?  
 
We have been fortunate at Artifcts to naturally develop a phenomenal network of individuals and organizations dedicated to helping older adults age well, and age with grace and freedom of choice, yet we feel that having such a network should not depend on one’s chosen profession. Our cofounders had to put this network to the test earlier this year with our respective families as we pondered next steps and life transitions and even helped support some of our loved ones as they moved into assisted living.
 
It really got us thinking—we need to start talking more about the services, products (have you seen this walker?), technology, and communities that exist to help us age well. From the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers—better known as NASMM—to the National Aging in Place Council, there are experts out there that exist solely to help us live well and age better.  
 
Have you worked with a great company, service, organization, or technology that helps people age in place? We’d love to hear from you! Better yet, post about them in your public forum of choice and start a conversation around aging. You never know who you’ll help. 
 
We know who to call to do our taxes; we should know who to call to help us and our loved ones to live well and age better.  

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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New Feature: “In Remembrance” of Whom We’ve Lost 

Artifcts in lieu of flowers is a concept born from the Arti Community. We are each the keepers of unique moments in one another’s lives. No one person can possibly be our own personal keeper of all of our memories and stories. No device for that matter either! Today we’re proud to announce the launch of what we have lovingly named “In Remembrance.”  

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It has always been possible to create and share Artifcts privately. Now with Artifcts “In Remembrance” anyone can create an Artifct and share it with someone who is grieving a loss. It's a meaningful gift for someone who is greiving, whether the loss was yesterday, a year ago, or many decades in the past.

Choosing to share an Artifct “In Remembrance” sends a non-editable copy of the Artifct, marked with a black ribbon, to the Special Artifcts Collections of the individuals, circles, or sharing lists you select. Recipients need only a free account to access these Artifcts.  

They will be able to view and download any photos or video and audio snippets you include in the Artifct, too. Maybe they will frame your photo! No need for messy storage and sharing here, there, and everywhere, email, text messages, share drives, chat groups, or temporary memorial sites.   

How Can "In Remembrance" Help You? 

If you have experienced grief, you know that the waves of pain and near paralysis that wash over you as the minutes, hours, and days go by can be all encompassing. With the best of intentions, people may gift you mementos, photos, stories and memories, and more. But it can be hard to recall them when you need them most. And you are only one person! So many people grieve the loss of a single person. What about all of them? 

Through In Remembrance, the objects, photos, video clips and more of our loved ones and the stories behind them can be shared with us so they are accessible from anywhere and at any time we need them. Grief has no timetable. Neither do Artifcts. 

Beyond Grief: Artifcts are About Life 

The reason traditional estate planning is dead is that it has nothing to do with happiness or helping you live a fulfilled life. [...] What about planning to build the life you will ultimately leave behind when you die? - Daniel Scott, Forbes  

Daniel got it right. What is life about if not the moments that make it up? Legacy planning is what estate planners now look to to help people be prepared in life and thoughtfully build that life. 

Artifcts supports preparedness in life, too. We capture together the categorically valuable items we collect – the art, jewelry, collectibles, and more – and equally important the items that mean something to us because of the stories, personality, and life lessons and wisdom they impart today and long after we’re gone.  

For every Artifct you create, we’ve included a small prompt “In the Future” - what are your wishes? What do you want to become of this object? Is it a family treasure to keep always? Will you donate it or bequeath it to a loved one? Consider that to ensure pieces of your legacy live on as you’d wish. 

Bonus: You can also now let us know what we should do if your account is inactive for more than a year after your membership lapses and, ultimately, if you'd like to contribute to research via Artifcts! Check it out in your Account Profile under Security & Longevity> Preserve Your Artifcts.

The entirety of your Artifcts collection is a piece of your legacy, too. Make sure you preserve your Artifcts by naming your Legacy Contacts so we can ensure your digital Artifcts live on as you’d like them to as well. 

For more tips and how-tos, download the Artifcts Guide, "Helping You Be Better Prepared in Life and Providing After-Loss Support."     

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Muriel the Welder: A Woman Who Inspires Us

We're unequivocally in awe of the women we've been surrounded by as we've struck out to build a private and secure place to bring the stories and memories behind the objects of our lives. Friends from kindergarten and new business associates alike have stepped up to offer feedback, cheers, introductions, and inspiration.

Today we share a bit about Muriel, who at age 97 continues to live with vigor and purpose and has oh so many stories to share and inspire those of us who are living in very different times than she did at our age. You might notice, it has strong echoes of Rosie the Riveter. Perhaps she inspired Muriel, all the way down to the bandana, or maybe that was standard issue?

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At the age of 20, Muriel set down her apron at her parents’ shop and began attending school with “the boys” who would stop into the shop on their way to class. What were they studying? Welding.  

From here it was a small matter of an acute attention to detail and the joy of being underestimated that drove Muriel to receive an Excellence in War Production Army-Navy Production Award from Lyon Metal Products, Inc., for her welding. Her specialization welding tail surfaces of small planes required a delicacy that was unfamiliar to many more experienced male welders at her school.   

“We were putting ribs on tubing that was much heavier than the rib. So, if you didn’t apply the heat from the torch onto the heavier metal then the thin rib was, poof, gone, melted away.” 

We’ve heard the stories before, women stepping in across a broad span of professions and industries to ensure life went on at home while primarily men were off fighting. Advertisements abounded, opening the labor market to women. 

single sheet of paper with details of welding jobs at Lyon Metal

 
 
Lyon Metal Products job brochure than Muriel kept all these years! Why do you think the age ranges differ for men and women?

Yet, to hear the story firsthand, a story that was otherwise only a photo with a note “Lyon Metal, 1943, Montgomery, Illinois” on the back, brushing off this woman’s place in history, was awe inspiring.  

Black and white photo of woman with bandana holding back her hair while welding

 
 
These photos and brochures are among the last physical reminders of her contributions to WWII. Click the image to view the Artifct and hear Muriel's story in her own words.

What if no one had asked Muriel the question, “What were you welding?” “Or, why, of the few mementos you've kept, do you have a pair of old goggles?” Would this history have been lost forever? It has to make one wonder what histories lie hidden in your own family tree? What storied objects lie lurking in closets, bins, and drawers?  

We encourage you on this day, International Women’s Day 2023, to reach out to a woman in your family and ask to hear more about their life. You never know how many, “I never knew that about you!” moments await. 

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You can read more about Muriel the Welder in our story on ARTIcles by Artifcts, "She's the Last of Her Generation."

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Your Future Family Heirlooms

What is a family heirloom other than some object that someone decided was important in some way and decided to keep it and pass it along to another family member. That’s it. For what it’s worth, Webster’s dictionary agrees with us – it all turns on the word “special.” 

: something of special value handed down from one generation to another

No one ever said family heirlooms carry with them big dollar signs.  

A family member might have promised an heirloom would carry with it some history. But then again, even if so, how will you gain access to that history? Usually it’s a conversation, a sticky note, a journal that’s also hopefully passed along. We can do better. We need to do better. 

Artifcts and Heirlooms Go Hand-in-Hand 

Each Artifct you create carries the potential of heirloom status. How? Many ways, including: 

By creating awareness that this object even exists, or that it has some interesting origin or story, you increase the probability someone will care about it and claim it as their own. It’s no longer just ‘stuff.’  

One Artifct giving way to another. One of the earliest examples of this that we saw here at Artifcts was @Grandmom’s rolls recipe from the early 1900s that was reborn and brought out for everyday enjoyment when engraved in her mother’s handwriting on a cutting board.  

An Artifct is itself a unique digital asset, a digital heirloom. Someday, your loved ones can inherit your Artifcts collection and the stories, memories, and more captured in each Artifct will live on. 

What family heirlooms are you the keeper of? Artifct them today to ensure those heirlooms and their stories make it to the next generation. 

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Heirlooms on your mind? You might enjoy these related ARTIcles by Artifcts: 

Gift Your Loved Ones a Why

Estate Planning of Things

Because Who Wants 300 Miniature Pianos

Grandma’s Secret, Not-So-Secret, Coin Collection

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

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Estate Planning of Things

Over the last several years, there has been a movement in technology called the “Internet of Things.” This is the growing interconnection, via the internet, of computing devices embedded in everyday objects. At some point in the future, all our home and business technology are expected to be seamless and interconnected.  

In the past, estate planning has been solely or almost completely concerned about passing a person’s assets at death. It has not been connected to other parts of life and especially not connected to the parts of all our lives that have no monetary value: family history, legacy, values, etc. If the IRS does not value it, we often ignore it in estate planning.  

We need to start thinking about Interconnected Estate Planning to make estate planning more wholistically connected with our lives. Especially in this age of downsizing and decluttering, we need to start thinking about how we plan to transfer our things to our children, families, and friends in a way that transfers not just the title and ownership, but also transfers the “Why” so those people and others will understand the importance and the stories behind those assets. We also can think about making those transfers during life when we have the chance to assure the best stewardship of the items for the future.  

 
 
 
 
You can watch the full episode of Evenings with Artifcts: Modern Estate Planning here.

How do we start Interconnected Estate Planning? Many of us are paralyzed or overwhelmed and do not start estate planning until late in life, or – at worst – when it is too late. Among the negative thoughts I have heard are: 

  •  “I’ll just leave this to be handled after I am gone.” 
  • “My children/grandchildren/friends/family all know what I want and they will divide everything fairly.” 
  • “I do not want to make any decisions that might make people mad after I am gone.” 
  • “I don’t want to dwell on my own death.” 

In my experience, it is much better to make a plan than to leave the disposition of your estate to chance. Many estate planning attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals, and others who help to manage assets for estates have stories of families broken apart because the person who died was not clear about disposition. There are lawsuits that have dragged on literally for decades where beneficiaries argue about these assets… and not always the most expensive items. 

 In my experience, it is much better to make a plan than to leave the disposition of your estate to chance

Fortunately, there is a solution. Creating an interconnected plan can start with considering just a few items, and without even going to an attorney. By considering these items, you have the chance to answer the most important question your beneficiaries will have after you are gone: Why? Why are these items important? Why did she save that? Why does it matter? 

In one of the episodes of Evening with Artifcts, Jeff Greenwald said, “When you are giving an object away, it motivates you to tell the story. Stories don’t take up much space at all.” So, start with a small list of items you value. Title the list “Personal Property Memorandum” and state at the start that you intend this to be included in your current or any future Will, and date it. Make the list and consider why you think those items are worth giving away, what they mean to you, name the beneficiary, and describe what the item might mean to the beneficiary.  

Artifcts can be a great way to start organizing your thoughts. Once you have the items in Artifcts, you could print out the items, and use the printout as part of your Memorandum. With Artifcts, you can also write directly in the "In the Future” field that the object in question is to be given to a particular person.  

By considering who should get the items, you can decide whether to wait to give it away now, or make it part of your estate. As you make these decisions, just update your Memorandum (and Artifcts!) at any time. 

This is a simple way to pass along items with the most meaning in your life to those who can most benefit. 

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© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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