For an estate plan to be truly effective and do more than simply move money and assets from one generation to the next, it must accomplish three basic goals: 1) ensure that you are actually leaving your assets to those you designate; 2) make certain those assets are received at the right time to maximize their lifetime benefits; and 3) protect your legacy from being lost to creditors, predatory lawsuits, divorce, government claims or secondary estate tax. In addition to protecting your legacy throughout your beneficiaries’ lifetimes, and perhaps for future generations as well, an effective estate plan also provides incentives to promote your family’s core values and help inspire, motivate and educate your children or beneficiaries to become the people you hope them to be.
The Benefits of Developing a “Values Legacy”
Estate planning goes beyond money and even asset protection to the heart of preserving and conveying one’s core values, which is also known as a “values legacy.” What values or character traits do you want your kids or grandkids to know were important to you? What core principles or qualities do you want to pass on and instill in them? Through identifying the key elements of those core values and beliefs you are most passionate about and developing an estate plan that clearly reflects your “values legacy,” the next generation is empowered to achieve the four Cs:
1. Character: Heirs will be encouraged to cultivate good character.
2. Competence: Heirs will be motivated to become competent and capable.
3. Confidence: Heirs will be inspired to succeed.
4. Core Values: Many families have unique core values that they wish to instill in future generations, such as honesty, respect and education.
Continue reading about creative strategies for educating, motivating and inspiring heirs.