It can be a common misconception that legacy planning is only necessary for the wealthy, but this simply isn’t true. There are plenty of reasons why you should do legacy planning, regardless of your net worth. For one thing, this can help define who inherits your assets. It also determines who will be the guardian of your minor children or any dependents with special needs. The components of legacy planning usually include a will, a durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney.
Essentially, creating an optimal strategy for your legacy is more than just managing estate taxes … it’s about organizing your assets so they pass to your family, loved ones or a charity in the manner you wish. It’s about maximizing how much you leave behind, while still ensuring that your financial needs are taken care of for the rest of your life.
Establishing a Trust
In order to ensure your family receives the assets you have accumulated during your life, it’s critical to develop a legacy plan.
Regardless of how much money you have, we feel legacy planning is the best way to protect the financial interests of your family when you are no longer there to do so.
A trust is a key instrument to use during the legacy planning process because it can help you minimize your estate taxes and avoid probate. It could be worth a lot to you and your heirs to do a little planning ahead.
Keep Good Records
Another key facet of legacy planning is keeping good records, not just of your assets, but also of documents that describe your wishes. For example, not only should your will outline who you want to inherit your assets after you die, but also who you’d like to manage your finances or make medical decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated. These documents are helpful because they reduce the time and expense of estate settlement, which makes it easier on your heirs.
If you have worked with someone in the past, and you THINK your legacy is properly structured, it may not be. It’s likely that your situation has changed dramatically since you last examined this part of your financial picture, and it’s important to make sure your plan still reflects the legacy you want to leave behind.
This material is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor, financial advisor or insurance agent. Before making any financial commitment regarding the issues discussed here, consult with the appropriate professional advisor.