Traditionally, estate planning has focused almost exclusively on protecting and distributing estate assets. Assets, meaning the tangible fruits of your hard work over the course of your lifetime. While your estate plan certainly should protect those assets and provide a framework for their distribution when you are gone, it does not have to stop there. Your estate plan can also help you to pass down the things that are truly important to you – the hopes, dreams, ideals, and values that helped shape you into the person you are today.
Protecting Your Legacy: Why a Will is Not Enough introduces a new way to look at estate planning, a holistic approach that allows you to accomplish much more with your plan. By taking a closer look at traditional estate planning in Protecting Your Legacy, the limitations of a traditional approach become clear. From there, it goes on to explore the changing, and increasingly complex, needs of the modern family and how a fresh approach to estate planning can meet those needs.
If you choose to take the “Protecting Your Legacy” approach in your estate plan you will not be completely abandoning traditional estate planning strategies and objectives. On the contrary, you will retain what works from traditional estate planning; however, your overall goal will become broader because your focus will not be limited to your material assets. By also including your non-financial legacy in your estate plan you have the ability to not just provide for the next generation, but to also guide and influence your beneficiaries through legacy wealth planning. Examples of estate planning goals you might find in a legacy wealth plan include:
- Preserving assets for children from a prior marriage while ensuring that a new spouse is provided for in the event of your death.
- Ensure that a child with special needs receives your continued financial support long after you are gone without putting your child’s eligibility for much needed assistance programs at risk.
- Protect assets from threats such as creditors, a divorcing spouse or a spendthrift beneficiary.
- Create a plan that weaves your beliefs, ideals, values, and dreams throughout the various components in the hope that they will continue to positively influence the next generation.
Protecting Your Legacy provides you with the opportunity to do more than simply pass down your possessions. It offers you the ability to take a new, and often creative, approach to estate planning that passes down who you are, not just the things you own.