LEGACY PLANNING—The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Most of us come to a point in our lives where we begin to reflect more deeply on the past and plan more intentionally for the future. Thinking about the future often leads to how we’ll be able to care for our families even after we are gone. Likewise, one of the last and best gifts you can leave your loved ones is a thoughtful legacy plan.
We asked JoAnn Perez, PC, local attorney and legacy planning expert at Perez Law Firm, to help us understand exactly what a legacy plan is and how we can easily create one to benefit our family and loved ones:
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a legacy plan, it’s simply a distribution plan for the assets you have at the time of your death. A thoughtful legacy plan allows you to think about your impact on your family and the world and how you will be remembered. It will also allow you to make sure all your assets are titled correctly. That way, everything is simple and easy for your loved ones at the time of your passing.
Now that you’re thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind, let’s look more closely at a few of your options.
Many people are familiar with a will as an estate plan. Wills are great and keep down the costs and time associated with administering the estate of a loved one. However, wills are just one tool in a legacy toolbox. A good legacy plan is all-encompassing in that it will consider your assets, goals, and the needs of your family after you are gone.
Some things to consider when developing a plan include:
Family Needs: Do any of your children have special needs that will require continuing care after you are gone? Do you subsidize anyone financially? Do any of your family members need help managing their finances?
Charitable Intentions: What assets are best to distribute to charities?
Ease of Administration: Are all your assets properly titled? Do you have all your passwords available in a safe, but accessible format? Do you have enough liquidity to pay bills?
Legacy Issues: Do you want to provide for your grandchildren’s educations? Do you want to set up a perpetual fund for your favorite charity?
Executor/Personal Representative/Trustee: Who will be the person making sure your plan is followed? If you don’t have an individual you can trust to fulfill your wishes, would a corporate trustee be a wise choice?
Consulting with a legacy planning specialist will help determine the best plan for you and your family. The simplest estate plans consist of at least a will, a general durable power of attorney, an advanced directive for health care, and a health care power of attorney. If you need to consider more advanced planning, trusts may be an option.
Whether you have a very clear idea of the legacy you’d like to leave behind or need some guidance, our office would be honored to help develop your legacy plan.
Thank you so much, JoAnn for bringing this thoughtful gift to light. Broaching a subject like this can sometimes be hard, but putting a positive light on it really makes a difference and allows a person of any age to plan a meaningful legacy for loved ones. If you want to talk legacy planning for the future contact JoAnn at Perez Law.