Estate Planning

Planning for Special Circumstances

Traditions That Keep Families Connected

by Rania Combs

My kids and I play a Volkswagen Beetle game. It’s not Punch Buggy, but rather a unique game that my family created.

New Beetles (I hear the 2012 body style will change, but haven’t seen one on the road yet) are worth 1 point, convertible Beetles are worth 3 points, old body style Beetles are worth 5 points, Beetles with graphic designs are worth 7 points, Beetles with racing stripes (think Herbie) are worth 10, and convertible old model Beetles are worth 50 points because they are so rare. I found the Beetle in the image above at a parking lot in Spring, Texas last week!

When my children were smaller, the Beetle game served a couple of purposes. Keeping an eye on the road for these cars warded off boredom on long car trips. The point system also helped teach my kids math facts because they had to keep up with how many points they had accumulated and how many more points they had to accumulate to catch up with their siblings.

But over the years, the game has become a unique family tradition that keeps us connected even when we are apart. So much so that every time I see a Beetle when I am away from my children, I think of them and can’t wait to tell them of my find.

Our tradition has also been adopted by other family members. My mom got drawn in after she spent a week with my family. She called recently to tell me she had seen a yellow Beetle. The car made her think of us.

When thinking about estate planning, we usually focus on the tangible items we leave behind. But part of our legacy includes the intangible treasures passed down from generation to generation that keeps our families close.

What are your family’s intangible treasures? How do you stay connected to your family? Are there any traditions that have helped you feel close to family members even after they have passed away? Please share them below in the comments.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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  1. Carolyn Elefant

    July 11, 2011 at 11:00am

    Every summer since they were babies, my daughters, now 14 and 11, spend anywhere from 4 days to a week with my parents at the beach. I was surprised at how excited they were to go this year (even as they are anticipating camp); ticking off the list of things they do – Fantasy Island arcade, mini-golf, the water park, the beach, a particular pizza place. I know that they will always remember this time with their grandparents.

  2. Mike Lichterman

    July 11, 2011 at 11:19am

    We used to always play the “name that car” and “name that motorcyle” game when I was growing up. You got varying points depending on who could name it first, whether it was just make or if you could name make/model and extra points if you could get the model year (or at least body style year). It was always a contest between my dad and me . . . nobody else could come close. He worked for a car company so it gave me a good challenge. I still remember when I started winning 🙂

    We don’t have anything like that yet with our children, but they are really young and I have no doubt we’ll come up with something fun.

  3. Candice

    July 11, 2011 at 5:36pm

    Cute post, Rania. 🙂 One of the family traditions we have is playing cribbage. My 5yo doesn’t play yet, but my 12yo is really good. She has the same cribbage luck that my Grandma had. I remember learning to play as a kid and playing with my grandparents, and being so thrilled over my first awesome hand and they’d say, “She has the Prentice luck!” Later on in life, I remember mixing gin-and-tonics for my grandma and me before playing our game. Now my daughter plays with my mom all the time. We taught my (stbx)husband and his family to play and they are all very avid with it too. It’s one thing that I’ve had with me for most of my life that I’ll have for the rest of my life and pass on to my kids and their kids. 🙂

  4. Scott R. Zucker, Esq.

    July 11, 2011 at 6:14pm

    On long trips, my father and I would play a license plate game. We would take turns picking a nearby car. As we reached it, or as it passed us, we would add up all the numbers (letters equaled 0) on the plate. The first to 100 was the winner, and on the longer trips, we would play best-of-7 or best-of-9.

    To this day, I can still surprise my wife with how quickly I can add up license plate numbers.