Do you have an estate plan? If so, you have probably already been through the process of listing assets and naming beneficiaries. Basic estate plans usually only focus on leaving an immediate inheritance to beneficiaries.
Do you have a desire to do more with your estate plan? You can, with the help of a legacy plan. If you wish to provide your loved ones with long-term financial support and a personal legacy or to leave funds for your favorite charity, you may need a legacy plan.
With a Last Will and Testament, following the payment of all taxes and expenses the inheritances are typically handed out as the final step in the estate settlement. In legacy planning you can set up special arrangements such as Trusts tailored to each beneficiary. If you have a loved one who may mismanage a lump sum inheritance, have divorce concerns or threats from creditors, you can leave a Lifetime Trust to ensure your assets are protected and that individual has a steady income.
Once you have decided the needs of your family, you can choose the amount to leave to each heir and how it will be distributed. One common way to pass on a family financial legacy is with a Dynasty or Generation Skipping Trust. Both of these Trusts allow you to provide for family members who are not old enough to inherit or may not even have been born yet. With a Family Trust, you may be able to help pay for education for your great-great-grandchildren. You can make sure future generations enjoy the same opportunity you did.
Once you have considered the financial side of your legacy plan, you can find ways to make your arrangements unique. Write a memoir or family history to be given to your loved ones upon your death. For a more personal touch, record a message - audio or video - to each loved one with life advice or memories you have shared.
One facet of legacy planning that many people enjoy is the focus on leaving behind the memory of who you are. What you leave to your family is not only material objects; you also leave your values and morals. What you have taught your children will be passed down to their children.
To ensure your memories and values live on for a long time, you can leave behind a written record, or memoir, for your current loved ones and future family to enjoy. Writing about your life and the lessons you have learned will mean a great deal to the generations that come after you.
You can record a message or write a letter for each family member. In these personal message you may include special requests of family members or simply espouse some of the lessons you have learned in life. Personal memoirs are also a popular option for those who wish to pass on what they have learned to their immediate family and future generations. What if you have an interest in genealogy? You can turn that family tree into a written family history.
Legacy Planning also focuses on your place in your community. If there is a cause that is close to your heart during your lifetime, why not leave a legacy for that charity? Providing funds with a charitable trust can help you to share your legacy with your community.
When you leave behind a charitable legacy, you can improve the lives of those in your community after you have passed away. Such a Trust will help others after your death and provide your family with a break from some or all estate taxes on the portion given to the charity.
Do you have a basic estate plan, but are considering more? A Legacy Plan is a special estate plan that allows you to leave a sense of who you are with a unique inheritance for your loved ones or funds to help those who are less fortunate.
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