Most of us would like to leave this life knowing we made an impact on our loved ones and in our community. Perhaps by honoring a dear friend, remembering a beloved charity, or providing financial support for family members. To help you plan your financial legacy and help ensure that your wishes are carried out, consider these tips, insights, and wealth management strategies.
Set your legacy goals
Start by thinking about how you want to make your mark, after you’re gone. Consider if you’ll want to keep money in the family, such as bequeathing a vacation home or funding your grandchildren’s college education. Perhaps you’d like to honor a beloved cause or person through a charitable contribution. Or perhaps your financial legacy involves a combination of those goals.
Communicate with your family
To ensure that your wishes are carried out, discuss your options and goals with your spouse or partner first, especially if you’ve built your wealth together. Have a conversation about your plans with family members and heirs. This can help them better understand your wishes and be prepared for your decisions after you’re gone.
Consult the experts
Once you’ve identified your goals and shared your legacy plans with family members and heirs, consult with experts who can help you make strategic estate planning decisions. Knowledgeable tax advisors, as well as legal and financial professionals can provide wealth transference and tax-saving strategies to guide you in these four crucial areas:
1. Personal belongings. Create a detailed list of who will inherit what. In addition to market value, consider the sentimental value of the items and how that might impact family members.
2. Property. You may be eligible for tax breaks if you create a trust or a family limited partnership. (Consult with a tax advisor.) This may also make it easier to transfer ownership among family members.
3. Cash gifts while you’re living. You may be able to reduce estate taxes by gifting money to charity or heirs while you’re still alive.
4. Stock. You may enjoy a lower tax bill by leaving depreciating stock to a favorite charity.
Put your needs first
Whatever your goals and wishes, it’s important to review your financial resources and make sure that your own needs are taken care of first. With retirees living longer than previous generations, you may need to stretch your retirement savings, which may impact your financial legacy plans.