You can address some responsibilities in very basic ways to minimally cover your bases, and you can alternately choose to take a more comprehensive approach. This dynamic applies to the process of estate planning.
A basic estate plan would cover the essentials, but you could take things a step further and engage in the process of legacy planning. We will look at some of the specific distinctions between these two approaches in this blog post.
Bare Bones Planning
A basic estate plan will address the most obvious objective: postmortem asset distributions. You can state your final wishes regarding the distribution of your assets through the creation of a last will. Living trusts are also useful for people who have relatively simple financial concerns.
In addition to the financial end of things, you should also prepare for latter life incapacity, even if you only want to have a basic estate plan. You can empower people to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation through the execution of legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney or an advance health care directive. In this document, you can also state your preferences with regard to the utilization of life-sustaining measures.
When you create a legacy plan, you consider the way that you will be remembered after you pass away. You may be in a position to have an impact long after you are gone.
From a financial perspective, if you have been very successful financially, you may be exposed to the estate tax. Asset transfers that exceed $5.43 million in 2015 would potentially be subject to the tax.
If you are exposed, you could take steps to preserve your financial legacy for the benefit of your loved ones.
And then there are matters of the heart. You could carefully select caretakers for important family heirlooms that are in your possession. It would also be possible to leave behind an ethical will. This type of will is used to share moral and spiritual values.
You could choose to author your personal memoirs so that family members will be able to draw from your experiential learning.
Charitable giving can be part of your legacy as well if you are in a position to give something back to worthy causes.
Legacy Planning Report
We have shared a few basic ideas in this blog post, but our special report on legacy planning will provide you with more in-depth information.
This report is being offered on a complimentary basis at the present time, and you can access your copy through the Reports section of our website.
- Living Trusts and Incapacity Planning - March 31, 2020
- Estate Planning and Charitable Giving — Key Points - March 29, 2020
- Over-Funding Your Retirement Plan: A Potential Estate Planning Problem - March 27, 2020