How Does Legacy Planning Fit into My Estate Plan?
One of your primary motivations for creating an estate plan was likely to desire to decide how your estate assets will be distributed after you are gone. A traditional estate plan can address this concern easily enough. You may, however, want to pass down more than just material assets. Intangible things, such as values, beliefs, ideals, and faith that helped shape and guide you over the course of your life are also something you may want to pass down to future generations. Fortunately, there is a way to incorporate these things into your estate plan. With that in mind, the Coral Gables estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law discuss how legacy planning fits into your estate plan.
Traditional Estate Planning
Traditional estate planning focuses on creating a roadmap for the distribution of your estate assets after death and other related goals. It is, of course, important to have a plan in place for the distribution of your material wealth when you die, as well as a plan that determines who will control those assets and who will make decisions for you should you become incapacitated at some point in the future. All those issues can be addressed in a traditional estate plan. Your estate assets may include real or personal property as well as tangible and intangible assets; however, the bottom line is that traditional estate planning is used to pass down the material wealth you accumulated over the course of your life without regard to the deeply held ideals, values, principles, and beliefs that likely helped you accumulate that wealth. Fortunately, legacy planning does address those issues without the need for a separate plan. Instead, legacy planning tools and strategies are woven into your existing estate plan to create one cohesive and comprehensive legacy plan.
What Is Included in a Legacy Plan?
Because a legacy plan is intended to reflect who you are, only you can ultimately decide what should be in your plan. Some common additions, however, include:
- Guiding Principles. You have probably lived your life with a set of guiding principles. These principles have likely been interwoven into every aspect of your life, including your family, your business, and even your friendships. You have also likely tried to pass these principles down to future generations along the way. Although you may not think of your estate plan as another opportunity to pass on those principles, it can be if you engage in legacy planning.
- Ideals and Morals. Every time you make decisions relating to investments, business, or finances, your personal ideals and morals are probably at work without you realizing it. If you sit down and think about what has always guided you when making those decisions, those are the ideals and morals that you should include in your legacy plan.
- Faith. If you are a person of faith, your religious beliefs have also undoubtedly played an important role in your life and in the decisions you have made over the course of your lifetime. If you want to pass down your faith, there are ways to incorporate it as well into your legacy plan.
Legacy Planning in Your Estate Plan
There are several different opportunities within your traditional estate plan to interject your legacy. Creating an incentive trust is one of the most popular options. An incentive trust allows you, as the Settlor of the trust, to create trust terms that provide an “incentive” to the trust beneficiaries to do, or refrain from doing, something that matters to you. If higher education is important to you, for instance, you could 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 practice the same faith. If you have a larger estate to work with, you could even establish a family foundation and require your children to participate in the management and operation of the foundation.
Contact Coral Gables Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about how legacy planning fits into your estate plan, contact the experienced Coral Gables estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law by calling (305) 456-3255 to schedule an appointment.