Leaving a Legacy

Legacy planning goes beyond determining who gets what after you are no longer here. While it certainly starts with preparing how you want to distribute your assets to loved ones, friends, and charities, it also includes how to do that in the most tax-efficient way possible. If you are a business owner, having a succession plan is also key to the process.

Estate Planning

There are also some conceptual aspects, such as discussing the values you would like to impart on your heirs or creating a family narrative that provides a history for future generations.

Bear in mind that if you don’t control this process and pass away without a valid estate plan, any assets owned in your name and without a beneficiary designation will be distributed according to your state’s intestacy laws which may not align with your intentions.

Like most things in life, a legacy plan needs to be reviewed on a regular basis and updated as needed.

A Barnum financial professional will work with you and your attorney to help you through this process.

Knowing you have a properly prepared plan in place – one that details your wishes and will protect your family – will give both you and your loved ones peace of mind. Consider it a gift to those you truly care about.

There are four main legal elements of an estate plan

Health care directives

Generally two documents – a living will and durable power of attorney for health care. A living will provides guidance about your health care wishes if you become too sick to be able to communicate them. This includes directions regarding pain medication, artificial hydration and nutrition, and resuscitation. A durable power of attorney for health care, also known as a health care proxy, appoints an individual to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so.

Last Will and Testament

This outlines your wishes for the assets you own on your passing, including money, property, and other tangible items. For parents of young children, this is where you name a guardian to care for them if something happens to both you and the other parent. It’s also a common way to establish trusts for minor or young adult beneficiaries to ensure that funds are invested and spent prudently on the beneficiary’s behalf, until they’re old enough to manage the assets on their own.

Durable Power of Attorney

Designates who can make financial or legal decisions for you if you are unable to make them if you are incapacitated.

Revocable living trust

A legal document that places the grantor’s assets into a trust during one’s lifetime and then distributes them to their heirs or beneficiaries after their death. The grantor generally has full access to the trust funds and can change or cancel the trust at any time while still alive.

Find out how to secure your financial future

Achieving your financial goals doesn’t happen by accident. It takes patience and planning to create the kind of possibilities that money can buy.