A recently published article makes the claim that “estate planning is dead.” The author isn’t arguing that people in Georgia or elsewhere should disregard the need for an estate plan. However, a strong argument is made that a fresh approach to estate planning could be beneficial. This augmented approach is called “legacy planning,” and asks individuals to consider how their wills, trusts and other estate planning vehicles support their larger goals.
The primary focus of legacy planning is on celebrating and furthering those things that are most important to an individual. Yes, there are assets and inheritance issues involved, but that wealth is handed down in a way that is meaningful. There are as many different ways to structure legacy planning as their are families, and a solution to fit virtually every set of needs.
For example, an individual who values education, built a business from the ground up, and wants to empower his or her children to share those values could create an estate planning package that fits those goals. Wills could include provisions for assisting with college expenses. Trusts could ensure that assets are only available if an heir meets certain requirements when it comes to work or achievement.
Charitable giving is another area where legacy planning comes into play. Wills can outline which assets should go to which organizations. Or, creating a charitable trust and empowering loved ones to make thoughtful decisions on where those funds will go can help engender a lifelong passion for giving.
For those in Georgia who are interested in doing more with their wealth than simply passing it down to the next generation, changing the focus from estate planning to legacy planning can help. There is always a combination of wills, trusts and other tools to ensure that one’s wishes are carried out when the time comes. Working with a skilled estate planning attorney is a great place to begin.