Estate planning is more than asset values and estate tax avoidance.
Estate Planning is a way to achieve a “legacy” for your loved ones. You have worked hard to reach your personal and financial goals and your estate plan should reflect your sacrifice. Your sacrifice is why we counsel clients to think of the “legacy” you want to leave your loved ones. Leaving a “legacy” is coordinating the distribution of your assets in such a manner to encourage those you leave behind with clear directives as to how you wish to care for them.
At Winkler Legal Services, LLC I encourage my clients to create their own “legacy” based on their life circumstances and interests. For some with small children, parents want to ensure that not only are their children provided for financially, but that their estate plan reflects their values and directives. For instance, a married couple with two young children should plan for the care of their children should they both pass away while their children are minors. As such, the parents need to nominate a Guardian in their last Wills to care for their children should both parents pass away. Additionally, parents will need to provide financial support to assist the Guardian with the expenses of raising the children. As such, the parents need to establish an estate plan that channels to a trust the parent’s financial resources. The trust would be administered by the trustee and would hold the financial resources on behalf of the children until such a time as the trust terms allow the trustee to distribute the funds to the children. This is where legacy planning can be tailored to one’s own values and directives as a parent. Should the trust pay for college or advanced training beyond high school for the children? If so, how much will the trust pay and for how long? At what age should their children receive the trust money – age 27, 32 . . . ? These are ways that parents can promote the values and goals for their children when they are no longer with them.