June 19, 2020
Legacy Planning: Why You Should Do It and How to Start
by Chris Donovan, The Columbus Foundation
Mortality is a sensitive topic. Although the process can be difficult, we all need to prepare for the end of our lives, and legacy planning can make the experience personal and purposeful.
What is legacy planning?
Legacy planning combines the traditional aspects of estate planning—which focus on what will happen to your assets after your death—and adds a layer of meaning and mission. Through legacy planning, you define your values and the impact you would like to leave behind. Then, you work with your attorneys and advisors to make sure your assets follow your vision.
Adding another “to do” might sound overwhelming these days. But legacy planning provides a sense of purpose and helps shift focus to the more distant future, which is constructive during a pandemic. Additionally, most people know that they should get their affairs in order, but they keep delaying the task. Completing a legacy plan can leave you feeling accomplished and relieved, knowing that your wishes for your loved ones, your business and your philanthropy will be carried out. And, you can always revisit your legacy plans down the road.
Legal and financial expertise is critical for the technical components of your plan, so leave that to the professionals. When it comes your values and vision, you’re the expert. Your attorney, financial advisor and community foundation can help you think about your goals. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What principles have guided your legacy planning to date? What principles do you want to focus on going forward?
- How do you want to provide for your children or other loved ones?
- When you think about the world, what do you want to change or preserve? How does philanthropy fit into your legacy?
Legacy planning is an important part of financial health. Although it takes work, establishing a plan can bring peace of mind, which is especially valuable in today’s ever-changing world.