29 Jan Legacy Planning: It’s More Than Distributing Assets
Similar to estate planning, legacy planning involves preparing for the future. However, unlike estate planning, which involves creating documents for the distribution of wealth and protection against the unforeseen, legacy planning is often only used to distribute assets. While legacy planning is ultimately about passing assets down to family members, it can be used for much more. With a little extra work, you can use your legacy plan to share family history and values. You can also make a lasting impact on your community by giving to charity.
Share family history
Your family is part of your legacy since those who survive you carry on the family name. You can help shape the legacy you pass down to your family through legacy planning. Sharing family history is one way to shape the legacy your family members carry on. Often times, family history is passed down orally. However, after a few generations, the stories of deceased family members are replaced, forgotten, or lost. One way to preserve your family’s history is by writing it down and including it in your legacy plan. Many people choose to include a letter to their family members in their estate planning documents. This type of letter is a great place to include family history. By including your family history in a letter, your family members will have a physical copy of their history to hold on to.
Stick to your morals
Another way to pass your legacy down to family members is by creating a legacy plan that highlights your morals. Maybe you’re a big believer in volunteer work or believe family time is important. No matter what is important to you, there’s a way to include it in your legacy plan. Your first option is to include your morals in a letter to family members, just like you would your family history. Secondly, you could write an ethical will. An ethical will is not a legal document. However, it can be used to provide insight on why you have made certain legal decisions or why you’ve chosen to distribute assets a certain way. It can be especially useful if you choose to pass down your morals to family members by placing restrictions on inheritances.
The third option of placing restrictions on inheritances is risky. It could cause you to seem controlling. This option usually involves creating an incentive trust. An incentive trust is a type of trust where the beneficiary has to complete a task to receive their inheritance or is restricted from spending trust money on certain things. However, your restrictions can be challenged in court and cannot break the law. So, this probably isn’t the best option to pass down your morals because it makes you look controlling and can be challenged.
Donate to Charity
Besides using legacy planning to share your morals and family history, you can use it to make a good impression in the community. Legacy planning is ultimately about the distribution of assets. By leaving some of your assets to a charity you care about, you can ensure your legacy is felt in the community, even after you’re gone. A charitable donation doesn’t have to big. It can be small and still have an impact. The impact will then help you create a legacy by making it possible for others to remember you positively thanks to your donation.
Legacy planning encompasses more than passing assets down to family members. You can ensure all the bases are covered by adding legacy planning to your estate plan. To contact Boyum Law Firm for help with estate planning, click here.