Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and J.R. Simplot are names which have become synonymous with success. Bill Gates founded Microsoft Corporation and became a multi-billionaire at a very young age. Warren Buffet is known as the “Oracle of Omaha” and is known for his value-based approach to investing, which has turned his Berkshire Hathaway into a dominant force. J.R. Simplot pioneered the frozen french fry, was the provider for McDonald’s Corporation, and built a land and corporate empire that was no small potatoes.
These billionaires have much in common, besides the zeroes in their net worth. Each was a careful planner. Each set out with a vision and took methodical steps toward their goals. Each also did estate planning.
You can do them one better: Legacy Wealth Planning. This planning goes one step beyond traditional estate planning. It includes the transmission of everything that’s important to you, like your values and goals, not just your financial wealth. You do not have to be a billionaire to do Legacy Wealth Planning, which is an early step in building wealth, not just disposing of it. It has been said that if you fail to plan, you may as well plan to fail. A properly designed Legacy Wealth Plan can protect you during life as well as protect your loved ones after you are gone.
The basic Legacy Wealth Plan consists of the following documents:
- Family Wealth Trust: This is the heart of the typical Legacy Wealth Plan. It provides great flexibility and a qualified Legacy Wealth Planner can draft tailored provisions which meet your unique needs. The Trust holds title to your assets and thereby avoids “probate” at your death. The Trust seamlessly provides for your successor “Trustee” (a trusted friend or loved one) to take over in the event of incapacity.
- Pour-Over Will: This document is the place to nominate guardians for any minor children. It also makes sure that any accidentally omitted property is transferred to your Trust for a distribution consistent with your Trust.
- Financial Power of Attorney: In the event of your incapacity, this allows a trusted person, your “Agent,” to act for you regarding non-Trust assets. For example, this can be used to make sure that your taxes are filed so you get your refund.
- Health Care Power of Attorney: This allows your “Agent” to make health decisions for you when you are unable to act for yourself.
- “HIPAA” power: This power ensures that those close to you have access to needed medical information. Without this power, hospitals or other medical providers may withhold even basic information, such as whether you are there.
- My Legacy Workbook: Chronicles your personal and family history and puts forward your hopes, dreams, and beliefs.
Whether you are the guy next door or a billionaire, Legacy Wealth Planning is an effective way to build a plan that protects you during your life and your loved ones after you are gone.
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys