A good estate plan distributes your assets after you're gone.
A great estate plan builds the legacy you want to leave behind.
Too often, people consider their work done once their estate planning documents are complete. Estate planning should be much more than simply having a will or a trust; it should also focus on what you want to achieve in life and what you want to pass on beyond your assets. This is called a "Legacy Plan"; it defines your goals and allows your purpose to be carried forward to have a continuing impact on the world. Legacy planning is a proactive and intentional process, building your legacy over the course of your lifetime.
To get in the mindset of taking your Estate Plan to a Legacy Plan, in Glenn Ruffenach's article, "It's Time to Rethink the Meaning of Estate Plans," he suggests asking yourself questions such as, "What is the most significant thing I would like to accomplish before I die?" and then think about how your estate could continue to make a difference after you are gone. Examples of what to include in a Legacy Plan are contributions to your grandchildren's education, leaving money for scholarships at your alma mater and setting up a family foundation and deciding on its focus. At the very least, Ruffenach suggests making an "ethical will," which is a document that articulates your values and traditions and the steps to take to ensure the continuation of those for future generations.
Your Legacy Plan needs to evolve with you throughout the rest of your life. Its purpose is to be the road map to the success you want to achieve, which will ultimately be the legacy you leave behind for future generations. This is why it's so important to have a solid team of professionals, such as an estate planning attorney, an accountant, and a financial advisor, that understands your aspirations and has the expertise to create, implement and adjust your Legacy Plan along the way to ensure your goals and wishes are always on track and up to date.
Does your Estate Plan account for the legacy you want to build and leave behind? If it doesn't, consider creating your Legacy Team to transform your Estate Plan into a Legacy Plan. For those with or without a current Estate Plan, Sundvick Legacy Center walks our clients through the Total Legacy Care Process™ step-by-step to create a comprehensive, dynamic and understandable Legacy Plan tailored specifically for you and your family and maintained by our concierge Total Legacy Care Plan™ so that your plan is optimized through the years. Having a Legacy Plan will provide the compass for a life and legacy worth living. If you have not engaged in designing and maintaining your Life and Legacy Plan, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "It's Time to Rethink the Meaning of Estate Plans" by Glenn Ruffenach