One of the primary motivations for crafting an estate plan is often the desire to dictate how assets are allocated after death. Ensuring that your assets are handled according to your wishes can be handled in a conventional estate plan; however, you may have estate planning goals that extend beyond the distribution of tangible possessions. You may also want to pass down concepts that transcend the material realm, such as values, principles, convictions, and faith that have played a pivotal role in shaping and steering your life. Fortunately, you can pass down your legacy along with your material assets in your estate plan. To get you started, the estate planning attorneys at Wilcox Attorneys, PA discuss passing down your legacy in your estate plan.
What Is Legacy Planning?
A conventional estate plan is primarily concerned with the distribution of estate assets. These assets encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from real estate and personal property to tangible and intangible resources. Collectively, these assets essentially signify the material wealth accumulated throughout your lifetime. While it is important to create a traditional estate plan that dictates how those assets are handled after you are gone, a traditional estate plan often omits space for the deeply ingrained values, principles, and beliefs that hold paramount significance to you and that you hope to pass down to future generations.
This is where legacy planning comes into play. Legacy planning doesn’t require the creation of an entirely separate plan. Instead, it introduces strategies and tools into your existing estate plan that are designed to encompass the legacy you aspire to bestow upon future generations. Legacy planning recognizes that the core of your life’s journey encompasses not only your material wealth and success but also the profound intangible assets that have guided you throughout your life. By integrating legacy planning into your estate plan, you ensure that the entirety of your legacy is preserved and passed down to the generations that follow.
What Part of Your Legacy Will Be Included in Your Estate Plan?
Take some time to contemplate what legacy you hope to leave behind when you are gone. Think about what ideals and beliefs have guided you, what philosophies and principles created the foundation of your character, and what morals and faith have helped you during difficult times in your life. These are likely the types of things you want to pass down in a legacy planning component. Weaving that legacy into your estate plan is the next step.
There are several ways to incorporate legacy planning strategies and tools into your existing traditional estate plan. Creating an incentive trust is one popular choice. As the Settlor (creator) of the trust you have the ability to create trust terms that provide an “incentive” to the trust beneficiaries to do, or refrain from doing, something that matters to you. For example, if higher education is important to you, you might create trust terms that only allow the trust assets to be used to pay for education-related expenses. Likewise, if your faith is a guiding force, you could include trust terms that require a beneficiary to demonstrate his/her belief in the same faith. A charitable family foundation is another option, if you have significant estate assets, that requires your children to participate in the management and operation of the foundation.
Are You Ready to Pass Down Your Legacy?
For additional information, please sign up for one of our FREE estate planning webinars. If you wish to discuss passing down your legacy in your estate plan, contact the experienced Washington County, Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, and Northwest Arkansas estate planning attorneys at Wilcox Attorneys, PA by calling 479-443-0062 to schedule your appointment today.