If you already have an estate plan in place, it may be time to take that plan to the next level by incorporating legacy planning into your overall plan. Legacy planning is not something that takes the place of your existing estate plan. Instead, legacy planning takes over where your estate plan left off. It allows you to do more than just plan for the disposition of your tangible assets because, when you stop to think about it, you likely want to pass down much more to future generations. It is often the intangible ideals, philosophies, and beliefs that make up your legacy that is what you truly hope to pass down. Legacy wealth planning does that by incorporating what matters most to you into your entire estate plan.
Is a Traditional Estate Plan Enough?
Without a doubt, having a comprehensive estate plan in place is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to your loved ones as well as to yourself. A traditional estate plan ensures that your estate assets will be distributed according to your wishes after you are gone and often ensures that your wishes will be honored with regard to end of life medical decisions and funeral and burial plans after your death. While a traditional estate plan can protect your assets and your wishes, there may come a time when you ask yourself if that traditional estate plan is enough? After all, what you hope to leave behind is more than just the material wealth you have accumulated over the years. You hope to also leave behind your legacy.
Can Legacy Wealth Planning Help?
If you have reached a point at which you feel that something is missing from your traditional estate plan, it is probably time for legacy wealth planning. Legacy wealth planning is not something that takes the place of your traditional estate plan. It is something that adds to that plan. It attempts to pass down more of who you are to those you leave behind.
For example, if you subscribed to a specific work ethic or business philosophy throughout your working career, there is a good chance that you want to pass that ethic or philosophy down to the next generation. After all, it helped you to achieve the success you have achieved to date. By the same token, if your faith has always been a guiding force or your belief system has always provided you with a foundation, those are parts of your legacy that you likely want to leave behind.
How Does Legacy Wealth Planning Work?
There are actually a number of different opportunities within your traditional estate plan to interject your legacy. Creating an incentive trust is one of the most popular options. An incentive trust allows you, as the Settlor of the trust, to create trust terms that provide an “incentive” to the trust beneficiaries to do, or refrain from doing, something that matters to you. If higher education is important to you, for instance, you could create trust terms that only allow the trust assets to be used to pay for education related expenses. Likewise, if your faith is a guiding force, you could include trust terms that require a beneficiary to practice the same faith. If you have a larger estate to work with, you could even establish a family foundation and require your children to participate in the management and operation of the foundation. The possibilities are really limitless once you sit down and start discussing the ways you can leave your legacy behind.
Contact a Legacy Wealth Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions about leaving your legacy behind, contact a legacy wealth planning attorney. Contact the Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 to register for one of our FREE estate planning workshops.