Family legacies can come in many forms. For those with ties to the land, a legacy might involve running a ranch or creating a public park with family lands. For others with an entrepreneurial spirit, a family legacy might involve a company that is run and owned by family. In some cases, an individual’s planned legacy primarily involves leaving financial resources, possibly in the form of a trust so that there is careful control over how people use their inheritance.
Those who are hoping to leave a meaningful family legacy that can persist for generations will likely want to take the three steps below to achieve their objective.
1. Ruminate on the possibilities
There is no one universal type of family legacy. For it to be meaningful and appropriate, the legacy someone plans may be a reflection of their family heritage, their personal values or a combination of both elements. In some cases, even discussing the matter with family members or close friends could help someone arrive at an appropriate decision for the best legacy to create.
2. Don’t wait for the perfect scenario
One of the biggest mistakes someone with specific legacy plans could make is to put off the process of creating key estate planning documents, like a will or trust.
Rather than waiting until they reach a point where every factor of their life reflects what they want from their plan, it will be far smarter and more beneficial to start planning based on current circumstances and then upgrade or adapt the plan as the circumstances of the household change.
Those who do not take the time necessary to create basic testamentary documents could die without a will or trust and leave their estate subject to the terms set in state probate laws rather than their carefully-planned wishes.
3. Communicate with family members and beneficiaries
Someone can quickly undermine a well-planned legacy by not informing their loved ones of their intentions. Especially if the intended legacy will mean that immediate family members don’t receive a standard inheritance, it will be important for them to know about the testator’s wishes long before estate administration occurs.
Having discussions about estate planning intentions is crucial for those who want to protect their families from the stress and expense of protracted estate litigation. Working with a legal professional can make it easier for those with specific legacy wishes to make those dreams a reality for their loved ones.