As a Houston will lawyer, I would like to talk to you today about one of the most overlooked aspects of estate planning – the opportunity to create your legacy.
Believe it or not, creating a legacy is not all about having libraries and hospitals named after you. There are great ways that you can help your family remember your values and beliefs that will cost you little to nothing.
A very thoughtful (and completely free) way to create your legacy is to write annual letters to your children and other important people in your life. These letters can be kept with your estate planning documents. Then, each person will have a special message sharing your feelings and thoughts.
The letters do not have to be held back until your death, either. Many people choose to present the letters to their children upon graduation or on their wedding days. Estate planning certainly deals with death, but it also gives us a reason to think about life and the way we want to live it.
Another way to create a legacy is to determine important causes in your life and then support them through your estate planning. Whether you are an avid contributor to the American Cancer Society or you have a soft spot for a local animal shelter, these are the kinds of non-profits and charities you can support to ensure your values are represented in your planning.
Many nonprofit organizations will happily work with you to put together some kind of a giving plan for your estate. There may be tax benefits in addition to knowing that you are doing something important for the world.
A Houston will lawyer can also help you with setting up a family trust that can be used to further causes that you or your loved ones are passionate about. This is a great way to build a legacy, not just for yourself, but for your entire family. If you are unsure of how or why you should set up a family trust to create your legacy, definitely take the time to meet with a qualified estate planning lawyer. He or she will likely have many other suggestions for ways to use your planning in order to help build your legacy.