As Mount Clemens estate planning lawyers, we help our clients arrange for effective postmortem asset transfers. However, in addition to the inheritance planning part of the equation, there is a larger picture to consider with regard to the lasting imprint you can leave behind.
Legacy planning is very appealing to many people once they understand what it is all about. When you consciously shape your legacy, you can do things for others and pass along important knowledge. Let’s look at a few of the components that can be contained within a legacy plan.
As an elder, you have undoubtedly had many formative experiences that helped to make you the person that you are. It can be difficult for family members to understand the path that you have taken if they have not traveled it themselves. If you take some time to record your personal memoirs, your family will be able to learn more about the events that helped to shape your personality.
You are an important link in the historical chain of your family, and you have had personal interactions with relatives that your grandchildren, and even your children, may know nothing about. There will definitely be people in your family that are interested in their ancestry. You can give them a valuable gift if you sit down and write down the family history that you can recall. This act would also pay homage to those who have come before you.
In addition to the last will and living will, there is another type of will that most people have never heard about. The document called an ethical will stems from the Judaic tradition, and it was first used during biblical times. This will has nothing to do with asset transfers or medical decisions, and it is not legally binding. At the same time, it can be a very valuable addition to your legacy plan.
With an ethical will, you pass your moral and spiritual values along to the people that you love. Since you will no longer be around to provide insight, advice, and guidance, this can be a bequest that is worth far more than money.
You can leave a lasting legacy if you provide educational opportunities for others. Of course, you can put money into a trust that is earmarked for college tuition and expenses. It is also possible to establish scholarships in your name, and this can be a very meaningful act that paves the way for some young people to achieve their full potential.
Giving something back can be another very rewarding facet of your legacy plan. Philanthropic acts can help organizations and institutions that are doing great things for others, and it is satisfying to think that you will always be remembered as a generous person. Plus, as a bonus of sorts, tax efficiency can be gained in many instances when you give to charitable entities.
Clearly, you can give to a charity directly, but there are other possibilities. A private charitable foundation could be established, and contrary to popular belief, most foundations are funded with less than $1 million.
A donor advised fund would be another option. These funds are quite widely utilized, because they allow for very efficient giving. You can make a single contribution into the fund and take a tax deduction for that year, even if no donations are made right away. Subsequently, you can advise the fund to contribute resources to multiple different charities.
If the idea of charitable giving is appealing to you, the first step would be to set up a consultation with one of our Mount Clemens estate planning lawyers. Your attorney will gain an understanding of your vision for the foundation, evaluate the details of your unique personal situation, and advise you accordingly.
Attend a Free Seminar!
We are offering a series of free estate planning seminars in the upcoming weeks, and we encourage you to attend the session that fits into your schedule. You can visit our seminar page to see the dates and obtain more information.