Do You Plan to Leave a Legacy?

Legacy planningBaby boomers are more concerned with funding their retirements than leaving financial inheritances to their families and charities.  While this may have been initially driven by the Recession, remember that this generation re-defined everything from music to social mores.  The boomers are at it again: redefining what it means to leave a legacy after they are gone.

However, money isn’t the only definition of legacy, according to the US News article titled “How Boomers Are Redefining 'Legacy.'” Baby boomers realize that their top priority is to have enough assets to support themselves, but are starting to redefine “legacy” in the process. For some individuals, it means giving away some money now. For others, it’s restructuring some assets to leave a financial inheritance. For most, the process of aligning their assets with their priorities means the opportunity to create non-financial legacies.

Rethink how you label the financial help you're giving now to your next generation. Are you helping them out with college tuition? Helping with the living expenses of a slow-to-launch millennial by having them stay at home or by covering some bills is not uncommon. About 62% of Americans 50 and older are providing financial support to family members, according to a recent study. The study found that the subsidies averaged $15,000 over five years, but also increased with the givers’ resources. You’re allowed to give away $14,000 per recipient, per year, without triggering any tax penalties or disclosures … more than that and the person who gives has to complete a gift tax return. Also, the gift tax is deducted from your lifetime cap on tax-free gifting.

A 529 college saving plan lets grandparents build up provisions for a grandchild’s college education. Another way to redefine “legacy” is to set up your assets to guarantee that your heirs receive at least some type of asset. Be sure to distinguish legacy planning from estate planning, the article says. For instance, some families construct a legacy of memories and real estate by purchasing a vacation property held in a trust and owned equally by all heirs, keeping it intact for at least another generation. It also guarantees that the vacation home won’t automatically be sold as part of the estate.

Baby boomers: it’s really stories and family values children want from their parents—that’s what Boomers say they want from their aging parents. It’s likely that Generation X and millennials will want the same. Discussions about heirlooms with some market value but even greater sentimental attachment, like grandma’s gold wedding band, are great openings for conversations about “values that characterize the family.”

The article also suggests legacy letters that convey your own priorities, point of view, and life lessons for future generations. This gives you the chance to talk about the document. It’s a good way to redefine “legacy.”

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.

Reference: US News (June 18, 2015) “How Boomers Are Redefining 'Legacy'”

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.