What is Legacy Planning?
What legacy do you want to leave? Each day, you choose to live your life in line with your unique values. How do you want those values to be passed on and supported when you’re no longer here?
Legacy planning is a critical component of a comprehensive estate plan because it focuses on the values and the impact that you want to leave behind. We help our clients leave a legacy that is more than just a financial transaction. We help them plan to make an impact with future generations in their family and/or in their communities.
We believe that creating an estate plan is about more than just determining where your assets will go when you pass away. Our emphasis is less on the amount of money you may leave to a beneficiary, and more about the impact that you may have on their lives through your planning. We want to help you empower your beneficiaries through inheritance that you leave them. We want to help you set up your beneficiaries for financial success by planning for their future.
Legacy planning can focus on charitable giving as well. We can help you make a lasting philanthropic impact while also maximizing your tax benefits. There are many tools in our toolbox which can help you make a larger impact than you may have believed possible!
Determining your values and the legacy you want to leave.
If you like the idea of legacy planning, then the most important step is to identify the values and the legacy that you want to leave. This step must come before you start thinking about who your heirs/charities are going to be, and what each person or organization is going to get. This process starts with establishing a firm idea of: (1) what you value most; and (2) the kind of legacy you want to leave. This process can help ease your decisions later on because you already know what your core principles guiding every decision are.
This is the step in the process when you should ask yourself questions like:
- What do you want your descendants to have access to, and what kind of opportunities should they have?
- What physical assets or real estate are important to you?
- What other assets are important to you (e.g. family business)?
- What do you think is needed to make the world a better place?
Questions like these can help guide you and get you thinking about your values and what you would like your wealth to go towards. It can help put meaning behind your assets and attach them to your legacy.
Remember, every person has their own unique answers to these questions. There are no right, wrong or silly answers. This is your truth, not someone else’s. You may have a broad concept, or you may have a detailed answer.
The Next Steps.
Put together a comprehensive list of your assets. Once you have your values written down or in mind, it is important to start itemizing all of your assets. This can either be done through the worksheets in our Preliminary Estate Planning Questionnaire or through a separate list. This list will not only help you start thinking about what you want to happen to these assets when you pass away, but it will help provide an important road map in carrying out your legacy plan.
Put together a list of your beneficiaries. You have your values. You know what assets you own. Now it’s time to begin planning who or what will receive them. You may want to write out a list of the people and organizations that mean the most to you and rank them in order of importance. This can be done in tiers; for example, your children may be in your first tier, your siblings in the next. After you have your beneficiaries in order, then you can decide who is getting what, when they are getting it, and how they will receive it.
Set up a Legacy Planning appointment. Please contact us so we can help put your vision a reality. It is ok if you still have more questions than answers, we are here to assist you throughout the process.