What will your final wishes convey?
When it comes to estate planning, there are a lot of decisions to be made. If you do not outline those decisions in legal documents, then you leave choices that were inherently yours on the table for the courts to resolve in probate. This rings true regardless of the size of an individual’s estate. The best way to ensure your wishes are carried out is to work with an attorney to draft vital estate planning documents, monitor your estate plan routinely, and update your documents as needed to stay in alignment with your final wishes and evolving financial situation. Though, this blog isn’t about the specific documents; however, we’re always prepared to have that discussion with you and refer you to reputable legal counsel.
Instead, we wanted to help you think beyond the transactions associated with estate planning and see how you can use this tool to extend your core values while also distributing your valuables. You might recall our discussion on core values in our Goal Setting blog from December 2017. In that piece, we explain core values are the guiding principles that dictate our behavior and action. They form the framework that gives us purpose and helps us distinguish what we believe to be right from wrong, important from unimportant, and meaningful from not meaningful. In short, our core values help us express who we are and what we stand for in life.
When you craft your estate plan around the transactions, your final wishes are qualified by things like how much you saved in taxes, who has power and who doesn’t, how your property is distributed, and how charitable you chose to be, etc. While these are undeniably important considerations, are these the values you really want to leave behind? We believe there is opportunity for our clients to achieve greater peace of mind with what they leave to their families and how they desire to be remembered.
A values-based estate plan, on the other hand, gives a passage for the family’s story of wealth creation, stewardship, and core values to compound through future generations. According to Lorraine del Prado of del Prado Philanthropy, a values-based estate plan can be helpful in accomplishing the following:
- Unpacking the core values and conditions associated with a happy and meaningful life
- Identifying the true wealth of your family, individually and collectively
- Creating family harmony and cross-generational engagement
- Supporting essential opportunities that can launch heirs into productive lives where they can flourish, be responsible, and resilient
- Clarifying the highest purpose of your financial assets
- Helping identify the critical skills needed by heirs before inheriting money
- Deploying financial assets to sustain and further develop the non-financial assets of the family
- Bringing renewed attention to the struggles, journey, and lessons associated with wealth creation and stewardship
- Preparing conditions for successful wealth transitions
Do your heirs know the true values underpinning and inspiring the valuables you will leave behind?