You spend an entire life working hard and building an admirable estate. You may have managed your finances into a comfortable nest-egg, or invested well in the stock market. You may have an admirable collection of properties, vehicles, or small businesses. This is the kind of estate worth planning for, because it took so much planning to achieve.
When you pass your estate on to family and loved ones, of course you would want it handled sensibly. The best way to do that is estate planning. Once, a Will would have been enough to sort out your affairs sufficiently after death. But today, wills are so tied up in court and taxes that the best approach for your family is a Legacy Wealth Plan instead.
With the right legacy plan in place, you can be sure your assets and family matters will remain privately managed when your family needs those things most. Here’s how to make it happen with Montana Real Estate.
What is a Legacy Wealth Plan?
The best type of estate planning on the market is the Legacy Wealth Plan. This is a comprehensive package built for experienced professionals and savvy seniors who have a potentially long retirement ahead. A legacy wealth plan is, at it’s heart, a living trust. Unlike a will, it is easy to manage, and to update when life changes as you gow older. There’s a good chance you won’t need estate planning for another fifteen to twenty years, which is why it’s so important to work with a living estate planning structure.
A Legacy wealth plan is a complex way to build a living trust that contains all your assets and enforces conditions through which your assets are accessed after death. A legacy wealth plan starts with the legacy plan. You decide what you want your legacy to be in terms of both values and directed inheritance. Your goals and values are then built into the rules of the trust. The second half of the legacy wealthy plan is the living trust, a financial structure that can officially own your property for you.
Identify All Your Estate Assets
The beginning of building your own legacy wealth plan is to list all of your assets, including those that might be overlooked. Unlike a traditional estate plan, a legacy wealth clan includes non-financial assets like property, investments, and heirlooms with may only have their highest value only inside the family.
Consider all assets that are within your estate. Go over all of your accounts and, for things worth more than $500, consider having them appraised for final value as you organize your assets.
- Financial Accounts
- Start with financial accounts. All banking, savings, checking, retirement, and investment-savings accounts fall into this category. Consider accounts that may have been opened on your behalf. Hunt down old employers and determine what happened to your old retirement-fund payments to rope these accounts into your financial estate as well. Many people have abandoned IRAs in their name, left by previous employers with some local bank.
- Your investments are another important asset. Whether you have an investment fund or directly play the market, your stocks, bonds, and other investments need to be catalogued and bequeathed through the trust just like all your other assets. Even if the values are, by definition, variable.
- Every home, business, and vehicle you own falls under properties. So do your personal possessions, in many legal considerations. List all the properties you own and their last assessed value.
- Owning a business is one of the great ways to be financially and functionally independent. Some people make a career of opening or buying small, successful shops. The businesses you own, if any, will become a part of your estate plan so that they, too, will be passed on smoothly when you are no longer around to manage them.
- Don’t forget your personal possessions that mean something to family members. Heirlooms kept through the generation and keepsakes that saw important events with the family are worth listing in your estate plan, no matter how much or how little they are worth monetarily. These are items the family would want to see well-cared-for, as would you.
- Personal Possessions
- Then there are all the simple possessions of a daily life. The things that fill your house and that you life with every day are also aprt of your estate. They will need to be dispensed with when you are gone. You may leave them to your spouse, as part of your shared lifestyle, or even leave instructions on which charities would do the most good with your wardrobe or entertainment system.
- Just remember to give your loved ones a chance to claim mementos personal items that held meaning to them.
Identify Your Legacy Goals
The other half of your legacy wealth plan is the legacy you want to leave. With a legacy wealth plan, you have the tools to shape the dispensation of your estate to provide for your family, encourage certain behaviors, and reinforce family values. You can make decisions that are more personal than bequeathing lump sums and physical items to specific people. The living trust you are creating can turn your estate into a pillar of the family when you are gone.
So sit down and think about the values, goals, and legacy you want to build into your legacy wealth plan.
- Carrying on Family Values
- If you want each of your grand-children to attend college, you can craft your legacy trust to provide them money and incentive to achieve this goal. You might set aside a fund for small gifts when a grandchild or great-grand-child ends a school year with As. Or you might continue a family tradition of wedding gifts . Or just create a practical emergency fund for family medical expenses.
- Whatever your strongest family values, you can continue them with special dispensations, funds, and rules built into your legacy trust.
- Meaningful Inheritance
- You can also make inheritance mean something more to your surviving family. You might provide inheritance on meaningful life landmarks instead of automatically at death, or only provide inheritance if certain behavior standards are upheld. Provide the same decisions and loving support you would have, whether or not you are present.
- Purpose-Dedicated Funds
- You can also build funds and inhreitance designs specifically to further a purpose. Funds that only provide to inheritors who meet qualifications or reach for the goals you wanted your family to achieve. Money for college and graduation gifts are a classic. You can leave funds to help raise future generations or a surprise wedding fund for your latest-blooming child.
Organize and Bequeath
Once all of your assets and goals are listed, it’s time to decide “who gets what”. In a legacy wealth plan, this process can be far more personal and complex than with a simple will or even a traditional estate plan or living trust. Choose your successor trustee, the person who will inherit control of the trust after you. This is traditionally your spouse, or whoever you would normally name as your will’s executor.
Then go through the long and personal process of leaving specific sums or items to each member of your family.
Periodically Update Your Legacy Plan
Finally, be prepared to update your legacy wealth plan from time to time. Seniors are living much longer than they used to, and you may have this plan in place for decades before it ever becomes necessary. Because of this, your life is likely to take a few turns along the way, and your legacy may need to be updated.
- Changes in Wealth and Assets
- If you gain a significant amount of money, lose funds, or simply transform liquid capital into property, you’ll need to update your trust. The assets and numbers must remain accurate to aptly provide answers should you suddenly no longer be present.
- New Members of the Family
- New grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and even great-grand-children/nieces/
nephews could be a part of your future. When this happens, no doubt you will think new thoughts about leaving your newest relatives something special from your legacy. New family members ar a wonderful reason for an update.
- New grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and even great-grand-children/nieces/
- Update Accounts and Details
- Finally, your accounts and other salient details may change. You may change who you’re banking with, or make significant changes to your stock market portfolio. No matter what the differences, they may be enough to update your legacy plan for accuracy.
Here at Montana Real Estate, we understand that you need a comprehensive plan to handle your estate when you are gone. Working with our skilled and dedicated team, you can build the perfect legacy wealth plan to manage your estate and uphold your family values for generations to come. Contact us today to find out more.