Estate planning lawyers are very good at telling their clients what they can do to accomplish their goals and how best to take advantage of the legal opportunities available to them. But your attorney will only be able to advise you about your options. It’s up to you to determine what you want.
For people creating an estate plan, your choices will often include concerns other than the legal or the financial. In short, it means developing a legacy plan.
Do you have strong beliefs or convictions? Do you want to do everything you can to ensure that your children, grandchildren, and other family members live a life of value and worth? Do you want to be remembered as a positive influence?
Legacy planning requires that you think about these questions and, if you choose to, develop a plan that will pass your values along to others. It can include a wide range of strategies, such as creating charitable trusts or other estate planning tools, but it begins with you and your own values.
Outcomes, Not Methods
You want your children and grandchildren to be financially stable. But is that all? Isn’t the goal of providing wealth to make their lives easier and allow them to become productive, happy people? Legacy planning focuses on these value based questions, not just on the fine details of finances, estate taxes, and legal protections. By leaving a strong legacy, either with your family, the community, or both, legacy planning seeks not only to ensure happiness, but to also provide others with a strong example.