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Defining One’s Legacy

Estate goals represent more than just a
monetary transfer of wealth

We have found that many of our clients have not defined their personal legacy. Estate goals represent more than just a monetary transfer of wealth; it defines how you would like to be remembered and by whom. So the question is, “How would you like to be remembered?” The Family Wealth Planning process can help answer this question by facilitating this deeply personal conversation and testing your ability to achieve your desired legacy.

Life Example: A couple came in for their annual planning review. They expressed that they wanted to leave a sizable estate, but fell short of defining what their legacy meant to them and what values or lessons they would like to pass along to later generations. While prioritizing their goals, they expressed how much they valued spending time with family. Their Financial Advisor explored the possibility of gifting to their children over the next several years without sacrificing their current lifestyle. This began the process of defining their family legacy.

Legacies are defined, we believe, when our clients answer the questions: “who do you love?”, What institutions have positively affected our lives?”, ” Who can carry on my life’s work?”, “Which constituencies need my help?” And so on… Whether the structure is a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRUT) or a Special Needs Trust to take care of a person who will need special treatment and resources throughout their lives or simply desire to be philanthropic.

An effective, convenient and simple way to fulfill philanthropic needs while maximizing the tax benefits of such a gift can be using Donor-Advised and Pooled-income Funds. Donor advised funds allow the donor to qualify for an immediate income-tax deduction in the year the contribution is typically made but make grants to one or multiple charities in the future.* Pooled-Income funds are designed to provide an income to the donor or designee during their life: at passing the charitable account receives the principal from where charities receive the donor’s designated grants. Both structures are considered tax-exempt trusts and are maintained by a tax-exempt public charity approved by the IRS. Our practice is ready to act as your resource in developing the planning required and helping you identify and formulate your legacy.

The Essentials (Links):

*Although your charitable contributions are usually fully tax deductible, every individual’s tax situation is unique. Before donating to the fund, you may wish to consult your attorney or accountant with respect to questions about your tax liability.

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