Updated: Aug 1
As we get older, we start thinking about our legacy. What will people remember me for? What will my impact be on the world? We all want to know that we've made a difference in some way. One way to do this is through a process called legacy planning©.
Legacy planning is something that can be done at any stage of life, but it's especially important when you start having financial success or are retired to find yourself with the time to think about it. (And these days, retirement is becoming more age independent as business owners exit and sell their businesses!) Or, when you realize you want to leave something bigger than yourself behind including those young individuals who after age 7, can envision what they are supposed to do or be with their time.
Many people think legacy planning is just about those who are older or whom are thinking about what one’s final wishes might be. But designing your legacy is also helpful if you have children or other family members who would benefit from knowing your principles and wisdom, in addition to instructions for your property as well as your person. But what exactly does it entail in strategically planning ahead?
It's a process where you think through a strategic plan with an intended destination, a set of goals, that are most important to you beyond just your money —what do you want your life to stand for? What makes it worth living? What kind of person would you like to be remembered as? What are some ways that your family might benefit from your principles and wisdom after you're gone? Then, based on how you would like to design your legacy, you then define, develop and execute your decisions about how to carry your plans out accordingly so that they align with your values.
For example, maybe one value that's important to you is helping others in need—in which case you might want to leave some money behind for charity organizations or create scholarships for students who couldn't otherwise afford education costs themselves. Or maybe another value is providing guidance and care for loved ones who are grieving—in which case you might want to set up an arrangement where certain people can access funds after your passing depending on their needs at the time (for example, someone who needs help paying bills might get $1,000; someone who needs therapy might get $5,000; etc.). There are lots of ways to approach this depending on what matters most to you personally; just make sure it's well thought out so that everyone involved understands what they're getting.
What if a part of your legacy planning© includes a hardcover coffee table book with your multi-generational plans for others to read and to follow your vision?
Hi, my name is Angelina Carleton and I am a Legacy Planner who leans into the Co-Active Training methodology with clients to help them design their legacy plans. I help people plan for their legacy by creating more a will and trusts, as I am not an attorney or a CPA. While a will lets you decide what happens to your property and trusts help protect said real, intellectual and personal property from being taken by creditors or other people who might try to claim it, a legacy plan looks at who you are as a whole person, your real life stories and what it is you most want to contribute. More than living wills, which let you specify what kinds of medical treatment you want (or don't want) if you become unable to make decisions on your own, designing a legacy plan today allows you to live to that plan in reverse engineering.
I also consult and advise in helping families with their family meetings, especially when succession and wealth matters are involved in the emotions and the entitlement that can sometimes come up, or the next generation who need guidance so they can focus on what matters most compared to the world’s many distractions. Distractions can include mass consumerism to the latest technology tool that is supposed to make our tasks more convenient.
If any of this sounds interesting to you then please get in touch! I'd love to talk more about how we can help design a legacy plan with what matters most to your life’s principles and values.
In summary, a Legacy Plan is an important part of any wealth management strategy. A well-thought out plan will help ensure that not only will your hard-earned assets go where you want them to when you're no longer around to make decisions for yourself, but your beneficiaries will know the real person behind the resume, portfolio and internet searches.
The purpose of a legacy hard cover coffee table book means ensuring that your values are known, articulated and honored, not just during your lifetime but also as an anchor for generations to come in your family and others knowing their history. It's not just about money; it's about honoring who you were and what you stood for in life.
Photo Credits: @alvaroserrano and @szolkin