Understanding the need for a comprehensive estate plan is important; however, an estate plan only passes down your tangible assets. To pass down more than that you need to incorporate legacy planning into your overall estate plan. Legacy planning lets you leave behind much more of who you are and what made you the person you are today. The Bellevue estate planning attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC explain how to leave more than just your assets behind with legacy planning.
What You Can Accomplish with a Tradition Estate Plan
Traditional estate planning focuses on protecting, growing, and eventually distributing the tangible assets you acquire over the course of your lifetime. In other words, the focus is on your material wealth. While traditional estate planning remains necessary, it does have its limitations. For example, your traditional estate plan can help you plan for the end of your life by creating a roadmap for distributing your material wealth after you are gone; however, there is no place in that plan to focus on the values, morals, faith, and beliefs that have guided you throughout your lifetime and helped you reach the material success you have achieved. Passing down those characteristics may be just as important – if not more important — to you as passing down your assets which is why legacy planning is so important.
What You Can Accomplish with Legacy Planning
Legacy planning is not intended to take the place of your traditional estate plan. Instead, legacy planning is something that can be woven into your existing estate plan. The idea behind legacy planning is to ensure that the intangible assets you have – your morals, values, faith, and philosophies – are also passed down to future generations because for many of us, those are what we really want to leave behind for our children and grandchildren.
Incorporating Legacy Planning into Your Estate Plan
Ask yourself what beliefs, philosophies, and values helped shape you into the person you are today. What do you believe is important in life? What core beliefs have guided you throughout your life? What philosophies have you used in your career or when investing money? What core values have guided you in business and/or in amassing your estate? Most importantly, what do you hope future generations learn from you? After you have spent some time contemplating these (and similar) questions, you are ready to begin legacy planning.
Because everyone leaves behind a very personal and unique legacy, only your legacy planning attorney can help you decide exactly how to incorporate your legacy into your estate plan. There are, however, some common tools and strategies used in legacy planning. One common legacy planning tool is a trust. As the Settlor of the trust, you can use the trust terms you create to weave aspects of your legacy into the trust. For instance, if a belief in the importance of higher education is a core belief of yours, you could establish an education trust that includes terms that require assets held in the trust to be used to pay for post-secondary educational expenses. If your faith is a vital part of who you are and how you live your life, you could also use a trust to continue to financially support your faith long after you are gone through charitable donations to a religious organization. Of course, your Last Will and Testament can also be a legacy planning tool when used to make outright gifts to charities that are close to your heart.
Contact Bellevue Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, sign up for one of our upcoming FREE webinars. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding how to incorporate legacy planning into your comprehensive estate plan, contact the experienced Bellevue estate planning attorneys at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC by calling (425) 455-6788 to schedule an appointment.