What is a Legacy Plan and Why Is It Important?

by | Oct 14, 2020 | estate planning

legacy planning

A legacy plan is similar to an estate plan. Legacy planning is simply the act of preparing how to distribute your assets and property to your loved ones upon your death. Whether you have a small or a large estate, it is important to plan ahead regarding how you want your assets to be handled after you pass on.

California Legacy Planning Attorneys

If you are ready to begin developing your legacy plan, the attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver can help you. Our attorneys have many years of experience with legacy and estate planning. With our skills, we know we can help you determine the best forms of legacy and estate planning for your needs. Contact our office to schedule a consultation to meet with one of our attorneys and get started developing your legacy plan today.

Why Should I Consider a Legacy Plan?

A legacy plan is a great way to establish your wishes for the distribution of your assets to your heirs and loved ones. It is similar to estate planning in that the standard legacy planning strategy is built around planning for the transfer of wealth and assets from you to your loved ones. Generally, larger estates tend to have more complex legacy plans than smaller estates will.

Legacy planning is often looked at more abstractly than standard estate planning. With a legacy plan, you may include things such as important values you wish to pass on to your heirs or include family stories or narratives. 

Essentially, legacy plans are useful for those who wish to include more than just assets or property in their estate plans. Charitable gifts are also commonly included in legacy plans.

Why Is A Legacy Plan Important?

Legacy plans, as well as estate plans, are important tools that you can and should use to ensure that your final wishes are carried out upon your death. Without any plans in place, you may not have any control over how assets are distributed to your loved ones. 

Additionally, if you have minor children and do not have any plans in place, the court will likely have the responsibility of determining who becomes the guardian of your children. With so much at stake, it is crucial to have a legacy or estate plan in place to ensure that your children are placed with a guardian of your choice.

Transferring assets and property from an estate to beneficiaries is often a complex process. It can become even more complicated without sufficient estate or legacy plans in place. 

When creating a legacy or estate plan, you may decide to rely on trusts to hold many or all of your assets. The use of trusts in legacy planning will typically allow your estate to avoid probate court. The probate process often takes many months and may even take a year or more. 

There are a few different types of trusts that are used in different scenarios. Your legacy planning attorney will be able to help you determine which legacy and estate planning tools are the best options for you and your individual and family circumstances.

How to Get Started with Legacy Planning

Generally, the first step in legacy planning is to gather documents and other pertinent information. It is a good idea to create a list of all of your assets, along with a record of where the assets are kept. This record should also include any passwords or other information needed to access the necessary information. You should be sure to locate any insurance policies and investment accounts, as well as deeds for any real estate that you own.

Next, you should consider who you would like to include as beneficiaries of your estate. Once you have determined to whom you would like to leave your assets, you should also consider precisely who will receive what from your estate.

Another thing to consider is whether you are interested in donating to charitable organizations. If you are, you should include specifics in your legacy plan to ensure that these distributions from your estate are properly made.

You may also want to consider whether you have any specific preferences when it comes to your medical care. Some people wish to include an advance directive in their legacy plan. You can include your wishes regarding end of life care, such as whether or not you want extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life (like life support).

Having an idea of what you want to include will be helpful when you meet with your legacy planning attorney. Give us a call today at Galanti and Copenhaver, and we will help you take the next steps toward creating your legacy plan.