Legacy Planning, it’s not about Death. It’s about Living your Best Life
For most, the holiday season can bring our everyday scurries to new heightened levels. Things like parties everywhere, parking spots nowhere, creating the perfect holiday card and baking the best cookie can create a feeling of overwhelm and chaos for anyone. In such a state, we become reactive to our situations rather than present and purposeful. We forget what the holidays are really about, namely giving, loving, sharing, and, of course, sparkling.
These latter values are the core of your legacy plan. Unlike your estate plan which focuses on protecting your assets, legacy planning is centered around who you are and your life’s purpose. It’s about striving to live your best life so that you leave behind not just your stuff, but your morals, your values and the success that you accomplished. A legacy plan is built, it is a lifelong process and it is for imperative for everyone.
So as you go about this holiday season, remember as you are working your way through the holiday maze, this is your life’s work. Act with intention, create traditions, empower children and future generations to be their most amazing selves — and obvi, leave sparkle wherever you go.
When you hear the words, “trust fund,” do you conjure up images of stately mansions and party yachts? A trust fund — or trust — is actually a great estate planning tool for many people with a wide range of incomes who want to accomplish a specific purpose with their money.
Simply put, a trust is just a vehicle used to transfer assets. According to an article at The Motley Fool, Trust Funds: They're Not Just for the Rich, and You Might Need One, trusts are especially useful for parents of minor children as well as those who wish to spare their beneficiaries the hassle of going to Court in the event of their incapacity or death.
One of the most prevalent misconceptions when it comes to estate planning is that if you have a will, it will take care of everything that needs to happen after you die in terms of your assets. But before you leave everything to just a will, consider these circumstances where a will simply doesn’t work…
The National Institute on Retirement Security states that the funds American workers have set aside for retirement are inadequate to the tune of trillions of dollars. Why? Well as the old adage goes: Failing to plan is as good as planning to fail.
One of the first pitfalls in retirement planning is giving up before you ever start. Many people look at projections of what will be needed to retire and conclude it is simply out of reach, so why even try? In conjunction with this defeatist attitude about saving, they may also think Social Security will provide them with a safety net. But the cold hard reality is, Social Security provides nothing more than a meager income at best. It does, however, provide at least a part of what those projections tell you is going to be required.
A common estate planning mistake many people make — including celebrities like Michael Jackson — is not ensuring the trust you have created holds all your assets. Unfortunately, most lawyers simply do not make sure this is properly handled for their clients, so if you’ve worked with any law office other than ours, you need to double check this critical issue. If you do not transfer your assets into your trust, it is an empty shell and does nothing to accomplish the objectives you had in mind when you established it.
Power of attorney (POA) is a document that grants a specific person, called an agent, the authority to make important decisions on behalf of another person, called the principal.
There are many different kinds of power of attorney. The scope of the authority the principal grants to the agent can be very broad or quite specific. The power of attorney document specifies exactly what that authority looks like.
Decisions about your health care are some of the most important you will ever make.
Don’t put off making plans until you are unable to assert your wishes. Including health care documents in your estate plan can ensure your decisions are always your choice, even if you cannot speak for yourself.
Health care documents that clearly state your wishes should be included in your comprehensive estate plan. Here are three documents you need to include in your estate plan to ensure your wishes are respected:
Young families face different estate planning needs and challenges than those who have had a long life behind them. While established families may be concerned about what will happen to their family when they pass on, young, growing families can be more focused on what is happening to their family in the present. And you even may find it hard to justify planning for an “estate” you haven’t yet established!
But here’s the thing … if you have children, or anyone else you care about, you may not have an “estate”, but you do need estate planning, if you want to ensure your loved ones wouldn’t be stuck in court and/or conflict, if anything happens to you.
If you’re like most people, you probably view estate planning as a burdensome necessity—just one more thing to check off of life’s endless “to-do” list.
You may shop around and find a lawyer to create planning documents for you, or you might try creating your own DIY plan using online documents. Then, you’ll put those documents into a drawer, mentally check estate planning off your to-do list, and forget about them.
The problem is, your estate plan is not a one-and-done type of deal.
When it comes to putting off or refusing to create an estate plan, your mind can concoct all sorts of rationalizations: “I won’t care because I’ll be dead,” “I’m too young,” “That won’t happen to me,” or “My family will know what to do.”
But these thoughts all come from a mix of egoic pride, denial, and above all, we imagine, a lack of real education about estate planning and the consequences to your family. Once you understand exactly what planning is designed to prevent and support, you’ll realize there really is no acceptable excuse for not having a plan, provided you are able to plan and truly care about your family’s experience after you die or if you become incapacitated.
It’s back-to-school time again, and when it comes to estate planning you may have homework to do. As a parent, your most critical—and often overlooked—task is to select and legally document guardians for your minor children. Guardians are people legally named to care for your children in the event of your death or incapacity.