Thinking Early About Legacy Planning - Adviser Investments

Thinking Early About Legacy Planning

Elderly couple planning for the future with their adult son
Many people begin thinking about their legacy and estate plan around the same time they start seriously considering retirement—perhaps even later. Why wait?

At Adviser, legacy planning begins further upstream—ideally as soon as we create your first financial plan. If we haven’t connected about this recently, let’s make sure we cover it in our next conversation. In the meantime, here are some key questions to help get you started.

  1. What does legacy mean to you? Legacy is about more than just money. Sure, it often entails directing funds to your children or a charity—but there’s more. At its core, your legacy centers on how you want to be remembered. As a business builder? A philanthropist? A parent and spouse? For some people, it’s all of those things. Legacy is, in part, about the values you want to pass along to the next generation. Think about how you want to be remembered, and then let’s discuss how to make sure your financial plan supports that vision.
  2. Can your legacy begin in your lifetime? “Legacy planning” is a bit of a misnomer because it isn’t necessarily about what you leave behind. In many cases, you can enjoy your legacy in your lifetime. Some of our clients want to keep their family close, so we discuss funding family vacations. Others hope to see the happiness in the eyes of the person they are helping, so we work with them to structure a charitable fund or a trust that starts giving immediately. Sometimes a person’s legacy is more about leaving the next generation financially secure down the line—they may be uncomfortable giving during their lifetime. Either way, our best guidance is to be intentional in your decision-making to ensure your strategy allows your legacy to unfold on your timeline.
  3. What tools should you use? The idea is to help you create a legacy that delivers on your personal goals in the most tax-efficient manner possible. That may mean setting up a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT) or a donor-advised fund (DAF)—or more likely a structured combination of strategies. The options (and acronyms) are extensive, but we’ll create an estate plan that meets your needs. We’ll also make sure your beneficiary information is updated and all of your estate documents are in place. Here’s much more on estate strategy.

If you are a client, please reach out so we can continue the conversation to be sure you’re in excellent financial shape this time next year. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts about legacy planning with us. It may be the most important conversation we have, and we’re ready to have it today.

If you are not a client, click here to book a meeting with one of our expert financial advisors!

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