Your Relationship with Money and Legacy Planning

Your Relationship with Money and Legacy Planning

July 24, 2020

Money means different things to different people based on their personal values:

  • Freedom
  • Charity
  • Power
  • Security
  • Status
  • Accomplishment
  • Providing for the family
  • Making a difference
  • Having an impact on my community and social consciousness

Perhaps you have given any thought yet about your “relationship” with money and whether providing a legacy is important to you.

If you want to make a difference and be remembered for your life’s accomplishments, actions or personal causes, having a broad picture of the effect you want to have on the world will help you pinpoint the actions necessary to achieve it. What do you want to leave for the world that will affect it when you are gone?

Whether this is for your children, for the community, or for your partner, what effect do you want your living memory to have on people?   How do you want to change the future?

Your legacy doesn’t have to be a grandiose concept - just focus on what matters to you.

For many people, this means setting and achieving philanthropic goals during their lifetime and for years to come.

“We can control and influence our futures by identifying what is meaningful  financially, spiritually, and culturally to us and then act each day to fulfill values based on a life mission created in partnership with those who are most important to us.”  Marcia Grubel MA, PCC, NCC, Career/Life and Legacy Coach,

Write down everything you think of that has an exciting effect on you.  Some possible answers may be:

  • I want people to remember how supportive (financially or emotionally) I was with my children, which will in turn inspire them to be supportive parents.
  • I want my industry to remember my presence as leading-edge and/or support the field of .......
  • I want to lower the rates of suicide by showing people that it is possible to overcome crippling depression.
  • I want to help endangered and threatened animal species and/or preserve our local environment. 

 This is entirely personal, so don’t judge your answers!  Get the should-do’s out of your head and ponder what you really want.

 What would have to occur in order to create the impact you wish to have?

For many people, this means setting and achieving philanthropic goals during their lifetime and for years to come.

For example, what issues in your community concern you? What do you worry about for future generations? And, how do you wish to be remembered? While these questions are not all-encompassing, they can serve as a helpful starting point in identifying your passions, values and priorities—all of which can help you determine what you want to achieve with your estate plan’s giving strategy.

Traditionally, the process of planning for the transfer of assets to your loved ones after your death is known as estate planning.  Legacy planning encompasses a greater breadth of planning and activities. 

What Is Legacy Planning?

Legacy planning is the act of preparing how you will bequeath your property and assets to your loved ones and/or philanthropic causes after your death.

As with estate planning, the typical legacy planning strategy centers around planning the transfer of wealth and assets.  Depending on the size of your estate, this plan may be very simple or very complex.

The abstract elements of legacy planning include discussing the values you’d like to impart on your heirs, or crafting a family narrative that encompasses more than simply real estate or cash assets. It might also place a heavy emphasis on charitable giving.

The process entails anything and everything that ensures you’re happy with the legacy you leave behind.

Why Is Legacy Planning Important?

Transferring wealth from estate to a beneficiary is often far from simple. Dealing with the probate process alone can take months or years.  Many legacy or estate plans rely on trusts to avoid the probate process altogether.

Whatever strategy you employ, it’s smart to work with a financial professional. An advisor can help you arrange your investments, build a financial plan, and minimize what goes to taxes to help ensure a strong financial legacy for your children and grandchildren and/or a cause that is important to you. 

How to Start With Legacy Planning

The first step in any legacy planning process is to develop a list of all your assets and where they’re kept including everything from investment accounts to real estate to insurance policies.  Make a list of recipients of your property and asset. 

Next, seek help from an expert who is familiar with the laws of your state.  A financial advisor will help you the navigate the local laws and tax rules depending on where you live and whether you are married or have children, and how much wealth you have. It is very important to understand the local, state and federal laws pertaining to probate, taxation and more. 

The Bottom Line

You’ve worked hard to build what you have, and it is natural to want to establish and nurture a legacy that will last for years or even decades after you’ve gone. Estate planning basics like a last will and medical directive are of vital importance but you should think about the process more holistically. 

Creating and maintaining a legacy plan gives you your best chance at that lasting legacy, whether that involves creating a trust, starting a foundation, crafting your last will and testament or all of the above. By creating your legacy plan, you are ensuring that you can continue to support the people and causes you love even after you’ve died.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels