If you already have an estate plan in place you are doing better than over half of the American population. That doesn’t mean that you should stop there though. On the contrary, your head start simply means you now have the foundation you need to do even more with the plan you have in place. In fact, as the Los Angeles legacy planning lawyers at Collins Law Firm explain, the basic estate plan you already have is an excellent foundation for creating a legacy plan.
What Is Legacy Planning?
Your basic estate plan likely provides for the distribution of your estate assets after you are gone which ensures that the state does not get to decide how your assets will be distributed. Your plan may also include additional components that address issues such as incapacity planning, planning for the high cost of long-term care, avoiding probate, and even end-of-life decision-making. While these are important estate planning goals, they fall short of passing down everything that makes you who you are. To accomplish that, you need legacy wealth planning.
A wealth legacy plan is not an entirely different plan. Instead, it picks up where your traditional estate plan left off. Legacy planning takes a deeper look at what made you who you are today, and then works to pass those beliefs, philosophies, and ideals down to the next generation.
Traditional estate planning remains important, of course, because you do need a roadmap that can be used to distribute your material wealth when you die. You also need a plan that determines who will control those assets and who will make decisions for you should you become incapacitated at some point in the future. All of that can be addressed in a traditional estate plan. What is not addressed in a traditional estate plan are the values, morals, faith, and beliefs that guided you throughout your lifetime and helped you achieve the material success you have achieved. For that, you need to turn to legacy planning.
Creating a Legacy Plan
Legacy planning begins by taking a deep and meaningful look at the core values and beliefs that have shaped your life. What philosophies do you use when making investment decisions? Which core values have you used throughout your life when making important decisions? Does your faith play an important role in your life and in decision-making? Have you subscribed to a specific work ethic or business philosophy throughout your working career? After all, it helped you to achieve the success you have achieved to date. Answers to these questions, and many more like them, can be answered within a wealth legacy plan.
The tools and strategies you ultimately utilize in your legacy plan will depend on many factors; however, there are some common ways to pass down your legacy. Creating a trust is one of them. A trust allows you to effectively control how the trust assets are used after they are distributed, even if you are no longer here yourself. For instance, you could create trust terms that promote your belief in the value of higher education by only allowing trust assets to be spent on expenses related to college. If a belief in the importance of philanthropy is one of your core values, you might create a charitable gifting component within your estate plan as well. You could even create a family foundation that involves the next generation as a way to encourage them to adopt your belief in the importance of giving back. These are just a few examples of how a legacy plan can pass down your legacy. Consult with your legacy planning attorney to decide how you will pass down your legacy.
Contact Los Angeles Legacy Planning Lawyers
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions about legacy planning, consult with a Los Angeles legacy planning attorney. Contact the Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 to register for one of our FREE estate planning workshops.