Happy Wednesday!!! Well it’s August, the downward slope of summer is upon us I’m trying to enjoy every second of good weather.. Summertime was always my Dad’s favorite season and every time I get in that excellent beach day I always think of him his lasting impression. With these beautiful blue summer skies, I can’t help but think of the wonderful legacy he has left behind.
This week, we’re going to talk about Legacy. Dictionary.com defines Legacy as: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. This can include money, property, morals, values, or history. Essentially, what’s the mark you’re going to leave behind on this world?
I spend a lot of time educating clients on how it is important to keep up with your estate plan. Updates are necessary to keep up with the changing legal, tax, and family landscape. Yet, it’s also necessary to remember your intangible assets – morals, values, gifting, philanthropic goals, as well as family history. These are the important assets that tend to be left behind.
Here are some steps you can take to make your legacy a lasting one:
- Leave behind detailed memorandums for your guardians: Yes, choosing a guardian for your children is important. However, more important is ensuring that your guardians understand your children and how they are to be raised. Consider writing your potential guardians a letter. Besides discussing things such as allergies and medical conditions, include things such as your children’s favorite activities, current interests, and what they’re up to. To make this even more interesting you could even write this on your child’s birthday so that you remember to do so. Then, even if the potential guardian never sees these documents, you will have a loving historiography of your children’s childhood.
- Evaluate your philanthropic goals: Yearly donations to your favorite charity or gifting programs should be discussed and evaluated with an estate planning attorney. Gifting can not only leave an impression on your family, it could also result in significant tax savings. Make sure the causes near and dear to your heart are well known.
- Create a family history: Do not underestimate the importance of family stories and photos. With the digital age we are less likely to print our photos or physically document our family history. Although a quick upload to Facebook or Shutterfly is nice, consider creating something tangible that can be passed from generation to generation. Moments in time can be lost forever unless they are recorded.
Our goal is that all of our clients assess their tangible as well as intangible assets. If this is something you could use some guidance with please let us know.
Lastly, what are you going to do to leave behind your mark? Perhaps it’s time to give this some thought.
Until next time,