In today’s blog entry in our ongoing series on basic questions about estate planning in Florida, we are going to take a look at legacy planning, or as it is sometimes referred to, legacy wealth planning. When people craft a legacy plan, they look at issues that go beyond simple equations about estate taxes, financial calculations, or incapacity plans. To help better explain this, let’s take a look at some key questions surrounding legacy planning.
What is legacy planning?
Legacy planning, or legacy wealth planning, involves crafting tools that will protect your assets, as well as give you the chance to protect your values and beliefs after you are gone.
When you craft a legacy plan you will naturally look to your financial security. After all, if you are unable to leave behind a substantial estate, you won’t have many options when it comes to crafting an estate or legacy plan. As a part of this process you might have to consider what will happen to your finances if and when you or your spouse become incapacitated and require long-term care. You might also have to implement strategies that will protect your assets against potential creditors who might seek to take them.
Once you have secured your own financial position you can then begin looking at the financial position of your family and loved ones. But a legacy plan doesn’t just look at how much you can pass on as inheritances, it looks at the ways you can best pass on these inheritances so that your loved ones use them wisely and in a meaningful way.
For example, a legacy plan might focus on creating trust that ensures that your children or grandchildren first get a college education, or provide them with a small yearly income that will allow them to be happy and productive, but not such a large windfall that will lead to their eventual squandering of their inheritance.
What do I have to do to craft a legacy plan?
Legacy plans are often a bit more involved than standard estate plans. With legacy planning you have to be very clear about what your goals are, and what values you want to pass on to your descendants. A simple estate plan, on the other hand, typically focuses on the legal realities that will face you in light of incapacitation or death, but doesn’t so much focus on personal values.
So, when you want to craft a legacy plan, you should be prepared to talk to your attorney about some personal issues that you want to protect and address. Your attorney is there to do what you want, and to advise you about what your options are, but it is up to you to make a decision about the kinds of values you want to pass on through your legacy plan.