Vincent Chambers, Esq.
Legacy Planning: Not Just for Your Parents
Updated: Jan 10
It's Never Too Early to Plan
Regardless of financial assets, everyone leaves some sort of legacy. At a bare minimum, people are left with the memories they have of you. Why not intentionally make memories now and think through what your wealth can do beyond your lifetime?
Younger people often overlook legacy planning by thinking of it as something to do once they've retired or as an item to "check off the list" once the end is near. However, planning for your legacy can be an exciting endeavor while you're still young. As you consider the larger picture beyond your own life, taking time to plan out goals and discovering what’s really possible can be eye-opening and inspiring. In a December 2020 survey, 18- to 34-year-olds were, for the first time, more likely to have a will than 35- to 54-year-olds[i]. The study cites COVID-19 as an impetus for younger Americans to focus on estate planning. Proper planning allows you to act boldly now and enrich the lives of your loved ones today as well as in the future.
We love talking with clients about their values, and the legacy planning process can be fulfilling for the entire family. So, what exactly is legacy planning?
Living Legacy Planning: An Overview
At Sherwood, we focus on living legacy planning. In a nutshell, this planning enables us to bring all your individual financial needs together - investments, tax planning, and estate planning - to provide a plan for you to enjoy your money today with those you love most, while also helping to ensure your security tomorrow. By viewing your financial picture in its entirety, we're in a much better position to help you explore what is possible with your money. In unifying all these pieces in your living legacy plan, we hope to help you and your family define your financial legacies.
Living legacy planning can be as crucial for families with young children as it is for empty nesters and grandparents. Our lives are multifaceted, and the living legacy process touches on all the significant aspects. By starting the planning process early, we will work through both long-term and short-term goals and make adjustments along the way. Wherever you are in life, we are happy to walk with you along the journey. Throughout the living legacy process, we will dig into the logistics and financial feasibility of making exceptional memories with your loved ones.
A Couple of Areas of Interest: Medical Care and Real Estate
For families with young children, reviewing your estate planning documents will be a fundamental part of the legacy process. Your planning documents should include designations for potential guardians of your children and the assets they may inherit. For younger individuals without children, it will be essential to select trusted individuals (or a corporate trust company) to administer your estate.
For some, retirement may seem somewhat distant. Still, the tax and investment pieces of the legacy planning process (including detailed financial planning) can provide an early evaluation of retirement planning to see if you’re on the right trajectory.
Regardless of your age or familial makeup, medical care and real estate are two areas we evaluate closely. The Mayo Clinic recommends that anyone over 18 prepare an advance medical directive[ii]. It may be unpleasant to think about, but accidents and diseases can and do affect people of all ages. Advance directive documents appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so. They also cover medical directives such as your wishes for prolonging life, pain relief, and organ donation.
As for real estate, your primary residence is likely your most valuable asset. When we dive into legacy planning, we evaluate how your home is titled and walk you through the nuances of passing down this valuable asset. Again, regardless of age, this area requires special attention if you own your home. If not handled wisely, certain decisions regarding homes could have a substantial negative impact on your estate and potentially involve expensive protracted probate proceedings. As a brief example, for an $800,000 home owned outside of a trust and subject to probate, hiring an attorney to handle the probate court proceedings would trigger statutory attorney fees of approximately $19,000[iii]. Through our in-depth analysis of your financial situation, we can help avoid this type of scenario.
Legacy planning done right has the potential to leave a lasting, positive impact on future generations. We are here to guide you through some of life's most impactful decisions. Your values drive everything we do in the living legacy planning process, and we look forward to partnering with you to understand those values. Schedule an introductory call with us so we can build a tangible plan to enable you to live out your values, provide for your family, and enjoy what you've worked so hard to create.
Disclosures: This information should not be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice.
[i] Cobb, Daniel. “2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study.” Caring.com. Accessed February 9, 2022. https://www.caring.com/caregivers/estate-planning/wills-survey/.
[ii] “Create an Advance Directive.” Mayo Clinic Health System. Accessed February 9, 2022. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/mankato/for-patients/advance-care-planning/create-your-advance-directive.
[iii]California Civil Code § 10810. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PROB§ionNum=10810#:~:text=(a)%20Subject%20to%20the%20provisions,hundred%20thousand%20dollars%20(%24100%2C000).