With Valentine's Day right around the corner; love is in the air. When it comes to love, what better way is there to show your love for your family than giving them a gift that keeps on giving? How you love someone matters; we all love our families, but doing something important for them carries more weight and speaks volumes. Plus, if your loved ones' love language is "Acts of Service," we know they'd appreciate you doing something that you've been putting off, like planning your legacy.
What is Legacy Planning?
Generally speaking, we define Legacy Planning as a strategy for the transfer of your assets to your loved ones after your death. Also known as estate planning, “Legacy Planning” is thought to be more encompassing, with a greater breadth of planning and activities. In many ways, the terms are synonymous.
As with estate planning, the typical legacy planning strategy centers around planning for a smooth transfer of wealth and assets from you to your heirs. The size and details of your estate will determine the complexity of the plan. Ultimately, your Estate Plan reflects the values you’d like to impart on your heirs, or maybe a family narrative beyond real estate or assets such as an emphasis on charitable giving. It's a way to let your loved ones know you care by being prepared for whatever comes next.
It's not such an outlandish topic, either, with examples popping up in many popular films and TV shows, like HBO's Succession. A wildly popular television series with three seasons to date, the show centers on the Roy family, the dysfunctional owners of a global media and entertainment conglomerate. The family members are at each other’s throats in anticipation of the family's patriarch, Logan Roy’s imminent death. Topics of estate planning like family dynamics, transfer of wealth, and legacy are mixed into the plot in an easily digestible way. If you're able to binge a few episodes of your favorite show, we promise you can complete your Estate Plan, too– it's not as hard as it seems! You can still pop some popcorn, snuggle up with a loved one, and create a plan online from the comfort of your couch.
Facing our own mortality can be difficult, but it ultimately forces us to take a hard look and decide how we want our assets distributed after our death and what legacy we want to leave behind, to loved ones and the world. And while estate planning can often be an awkward topic to bring up with loved ones, it's important to remember that this is not something you can delay. There's no better time to start planning your legacy than right now.
Different Types of Legacy Planning
Whether you call it estate or legacy planning, transferring wealth from estate to Beneficiary is often far from simple. In fact, just dealing with the probate process can take months, even years. That's why it's so important to plan ahead by putting a plan in place. A Will provides a clear, legally binding statement as to what happens to your assets after your death. Having a Will means that your wishes will be carried out the way you want, which can be an incredibly freeing feeling.
For more complicated estates, Trusts are often relied upon to actively manage the estate and even avoid the probate process altogether. A Trust can more specifically satisfy the needs of your plan. There are different types of Trusts that can suit different needs for certain individuals. But whatever strategy you employ, it’s smart to work with a reliable source of information to make good choices. Here at Trust & Will, a leading online estate planning service, we strive to be that source. We're here to help you along the way with the resources you need to set up your Estate Plan.
Benefits of Legacy Planning
Suze Orman put it this way: legacy planning is "an important and everlasting gift you can give your family. And setting up a smooth inheritance isn’t as hard as you might think." The ability to transfer wealth from one generation to the next is a gift, both financially and emotionally. By thinking of it as a gift to your loved ones, legacy planning becomes more of an act of love; a way to show the most important people in your life that you care. It gives you the freedom to breathe easy, knowing that if something happens, your loved ones are prepared for whatever comes their way.
Being Prepared for Whatever Life Has in Store
Legacy planning should be done with as much love and thought as possible. It is your future, after all. The key here is not only planning ahead but also starting early. The sooner you start thinking about legacy planning, the better prepared you will be to face the task of leaving a legacy for your loved ones.
There are many excuses for putting such an important task off, but most are just that—excuses. We're here with the good news: estate planning is more affordable and accessible than ever before. It doesn't have to be intimidating or confusing, either. With help and resources at your fingertips, you can complete your Estate Plan online in no time at all.
A Way to Show Your Loved Ones You Care
Your passing will likely be an emotionally draining time for your loved ones, to say the least. Hardly a time for them to stress about the mechanics involved. That’s how you can show them you care: having a solid plan in place, making sure your money, property or other assets go to the right people or organizations you love. Some of your goals for your Estate Plan might be:
Saving your family stress at an emotional time
Avoiding family disputes
Providing a legacy for future generations
Giving to charities or other good causes
Appointing a Guardian for your children
Providing for your loved ones
Expressing your end of life wishes
Think about your Will as a love letter to the important people in your life– a way to reflect who you were, what your values were, and how you felt about those you left behind. And love is not something that should be reserved for only during the good times. Love, sometimes more often than not, can be about doing the difficult things you don't want to do. But once you go through the process of creating your Estate Plan, you won't regret it. Give yourself or your loved ones the ultimate gift: peace of mind knowing that your legacy is secure. Consider starting your Estate Plan online today!
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