Estate planning not only distributes your property and eases the burden of your passing on your loved ones, but it can also pass along your value system to your beneficiaries as well. How? Not only can you leave a legacy of your actions, since those certainly speak louder than words, but you can incorporate those values in your estate plan itself.
There are estate planning tools that can be used to pass on your values. Many of these methods involve creating a trust, which allows you more flexibility and planning options. Not only does a trust allow property to avoid probate, but it allows you to set conditions on how, when and why the proceeds of the trust are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the trust documents. This can be particularly useful when you are dealing with young adults, who may not have the experience or maturity to handle large sums of money.
Some examples of trusts that can pass along your wishes to your beneficiaries:
- If your dream is to have your child own their own business, a portion of a trust could be earmarked specifically for that purpose.
- If you would like your grandchild to graduate from college, a portion of a trust may be set aside for college expenses, with the remainder to be paid upon graduation.
- If you would like to have a younger family member become a homeowner, you may earmark funds for a down payment.
The estate planning method in which you distribute your property can become your legacy and it need not be simply be about property distribution and who gets what. With the help of an estate planning attorney, you can leave a more meaningful legacy than money; you can leave your values to be passed down to future generations.