We all leave behind a legacy when we die -- what your legacy is depends on how much time and effort you put into creating it prior to your death. You don’t have to have a vast fortune in order to create a legacy plan; however, the wealthier you are, the more important it is to create a legacy plan that is consistent with your objectives.
A legacy plan is your chance to elaborate on your basic estate plan. Your basic estate plan allows you to determine who will receive your assets when you die. A legacy plan allows you to ensure that those assets are preserved for generations to come and/or allows you to continue contributing to causes that have meant something to you during your lifetime. Without a legacy plan, your wealth may be significantly reduced by various taxes levied on your estate at the time of your death. In addition, you will lose the opportunity to direct how your wealth will be managed after your death.
A legacy plan often incorporates trusts and other estate planning tools that can allow you to direct how your assets will be used for generations to come. A generation skipping trust, for example can provide income for your children and ensure that assets are preserved for your grandchildren. A charitable trust can be created to provide a mechanism for you to continue to support a cause that was important to you during your lifetime long after your death. Start planning now so you can create a legacy of which you can be proud.