Estate planning is a basic responsibility of adulthood. When you plan your estate, you make sure that assets get into the hands of your loved ones in accordance with your wishes.
There is basic estate planning, and there is also a more comprehensive form of planning called legacy planning. When you shape your legacy, you take additional steps to make sure that you have a positive impact even after you are gone.
Some people are in a position to cast a long shadow from a financial perspective. If you have the resources to make things easier for succeeding generations, you must be concerned about wealth preservation.
There is a federal estate tax that looms large for high net worth families. This tax carries a 40 percent top rate, so we are talking about more than a nibble; this is a significant bite.
The federal estate tax exclusion is $5.45 million for 2016. This is the amount that you can transfer tax free. If you are transferring more than $5.45 million, your estate is in taxable territory.
There are things that you can do to mitigate your estate tax exposure so that you can leave behind a maximum store of wealth for your family to draw from after you are gone.
You may want to leave behind a legacy of generosity. Philanthropic giving can be quite rewarding on a personal level, and there can also be tax advantages.
Some people create private family foundations. We have all heard of very high-profile foundations like the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Because we equate these families with extraordinary wealth, you may come to the conclusion that only billionaires can start foundations. In fact, this is not the case. The majority of foundations in the United States are funded with less than $1 million.
A private family foundation is an option for some people, but there are other ways to assist charitable causes. Charitable trusts can be utilized, and donor-advised funds are also popular.
When you look back on your success, you probably attribute much of it to the educational underpinning that you were able to receive early on. Your legacy could be enhanced if you were to provide educational opportunities for your younger family members.
Financial matters are important, but there are also matters of the heart. You are probably in possession of family heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation.
When you are crafting your legacy, you can give a lot of thought to the ideal caretaker for each respective item. After your passing, your loved ones will carry the torch; and ultimately, the baton will be passed to yet another generation.
Everyone has heard of the last will or last will and testament. There is another type of will that you may want to include in your legacy plan that has nothing to do with money.
Ethical wills have been used since biblical times to pass along moral and spiritual values. There are times when people are a bit confused, and they look toward their elders for spiritual advice.
When you are gone, you will not be in a position to provide guidance in the flesh, but your ethical will could be accessed by those who would benefit from the rules that you chose to live by.
When you write your memoirs, you share personal experiences. There is no substitute for experiential learning, and your memoirs can be a valuable addition to your legacy plan.
Your family members will get a glimpse into your thought processes if you the take the time to record your personal memoirs, and you could make audio recordings if you find that that the audio route would be easier for you.
You would be providing your loved ones with the opportunity to learn more about you through the sharing of the memoirs. At the same time, as you share your memories, you would also be providing information about deceased family members that they may have never met.
Attend one of our Free Seminars to learn more and then Schedule a Free Legacy Planning Consultation.
These are a handful of the things that you can include in your legacy plan if you decide to take a comprehensive approach to estate planning, but there are other possibilities. Our firm would be glad to help you in the planning of your legacy, to get started attend one of our free seminars.
We offer these free seminars followed by a free no obligation consultation to our neighbors here in the greater Fort Myers, FL, area.