Preparing a legacy for your family
Many people are concerned about the legacy that they will leave, or the imprint they will make on the world after they pass away. We often hear commentators discuss political decisions by the President or other politicians as being made to solidify or establish a particular legacy. For most people, however, the greatest legacy they will leave to the world is their family. Because that’s the case, it is important that your family be provided for through a quality estate plan.
Planning Your Family Legacy
Most people understand that the primary reason for an estate plan is to facilitate the transfer of wealth from parents to children. However, to really provide for your family, and your legacy, there are other goals that can be achieved through proper planning. Some of these goals include saving on death taxes when parents have passed away, making it possible to avoid death taxes entirely when the children pass away and protecting a child’s inheritance from all possible creditors, including bankruptcy and divorce. To properly provide for your greatest legacy, it is important to incorporate some or all of these features into an estate plan through the use of carefully drafted wills and trusts by an estate planning attorney familiar with these issues.
The Gift of Life Insurance
Another way to provide for your family is through the use of life insurance. These days, premiums on a term life insurance policy are so cheap, that every young couple should have enough life insurance to pay off all of the family’s debt (including the mortgage) and leave to the surviving spouse approximately ten times the deceased spouse’s annual salary. As couples grow older and the family matures, life insurance needs should be re-evaluated to determine the appropriate amount that can be used either as income replacement for a deceased spouse or wealth replacement to offset estate taxes that may be due. No matter the situation, life insurance should be considered an integral part of most estate plans.
Leaving More Than Material Assets as Your Family Legacy
After you have crafted a valuable estate plan incorporating the goals mentioned above and providing for your legacy through protecting an inheritance to your family, the next step is to strengthen your legacy by bestowing upon your family the principles you value in your life. The value of a child’s financial inheritance might not be worth as much as the legacy of morals, ethics, and character traits that you have tried to instill in them throughout your life. Because of this, the practice of drafting a document known as an “Ethical Will” is becoming increasingly popular. An Ethical Will is an opportunity for you to communicate your greatest desires and wishes to those that you love. An example of an Ethical Will would be a letter explaining to your children the value of honesty, integrity, charity, and hard work, discussing how the implementation of such traits helped you accumulate the financial wealth that you are able to leave to your kids. Such a gift will be treasured by the children, long after the financial inheritance has been spent.
DANA WHITING LAW has had great success in assisting families to provide for their greatest legacy by preparing valuable estate plans that are customized for each situation. As we create these estate plans, we utilize our experience and expertise to meet the specific goals of each individual client to ensure that their legacy will continue on by properly providing for their family.