What is your legacy? Every one of us has a legacy, the only question is whether yours will be a benefit or a burden to your family and loved ones. Your legacy starts long before you die and involves much more than just the property you leave behind.
Your legacy begins with your parents. If they fail to plan, then their disability, incompetence, or death may have a significant impact on the legacy you leave to your family. As you plan to protect your family’s legacy, keep in mind that you may need to help your parents plan in order to protect your family’s legacy. As you read on, think not only of your legacy and planning, but also about your parents’ and adult children’s plans. A legacy is like a long chain. It includes not only your money and investments, but also your traditions, faith, family history, heirlooms, and heritage. A break in that chain, whether it is your link, or above or below your link, and your family’s legacy could be lost forever.
The good news is that we are living much longer than ever before, but with longer life comes the need for planning. Most of us will be around for many years, during which someone else will be making decisions for us. How will you spend the last 10-15 years of your life? Will your legacy start with legal battles over your competency and guardianship, or will you have a plan? Will you live in a nursing home far from family, or will you have a plan? Will your life savings be mismanaged by others, or will you have a plan?
Nothing can stop the march of time, or the burdens of age, but with a “legacy protection plan”, you can lessen the burden on your family, and protect your legacy.
Will lawyers, judges, the IRS, and creditors all take parts of your legacy, or will you have a plan? Will your children fight over your legacy, or will you have a plan? Will guardianship of your minor children be split between different family members, will there be a guardianship fight, or foster care, or will you have a plan? Will your legacy be lost to your children’s’ creditors or ex-spouses, or will you have a plan? Will your grandchildren be left with nothing to remember you by, or will you have a plan?
No one can predict if the final years of their life, or a fatal accident, will create unsuspected creditors, or how their children or business partners will react after their death. But with a “legacy protection plan” you can prepare for contingencies and protect your family and your legacy.
Everybody has a legacy to protect, and every one of us can afford a “legacy protection plan”, regardless of the status of our personal finances or the size of our estate. In fact, the less you have, the more important it is to plan and to protect what you have.
Will the inheritance you leave your family be a burden to them? Will the property or IRA you leave to your children disqualify them from Medicaid, or will you have a plan? Will the money or life insurance you leave to your children or spouse disqualify your children or grandchildren from college financial aid, or will you have a plan? Will the investments you leave behind put your loved ones in a higher tax bracket, or will you have a plan? Will your children need to borrow money to pay the mortgage and property tax on the home they inherit from you, or will you have a plan?
The key to dealing with all of life’s surprises, good and bad, is planning. Proper disability planning and estate planning can help protect your family and your legacy for generations to come. We all have the ability to protect our family and to leave them with a legacy that is a loving benefit, it just takes a little planning.
Learn more about estate planning myths here. Learn about multigenerational planning here.