Give Thanks This Year with an Up-to-Date Estate Plan

Your Legacy: How Do You Want to Be Remembered? 

As Thomas Campbell, physicist and the author of My Big TOE, once said, “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” When we lose a loved one, we often have memories of special events and occasions, support they provided us, or specific qualities of that person we will never forget. An epitaph, by definition, is a brief phrase or sentence expressing a sentiment, often inscribed on a tombstone. Epitaph Day is a symbolic event dedicated to the contemplation and creation of our desired epitaphs. It is a gentle and meaningful reminder of the impermanent nature of life and the importance of having a plan for the future.  

An Estate Plan Can Help You Be Remembered

In the rush and routine of daily life, it can be easy to postpone essential matters like estate planning. Although Epitaph Day has recently passed, now is a great opportunity for you to pause and consider the importance of ensuring that your wishes, the things you own, and your legacies are handled according to your preferences after your departure from this world. You may be surprised to learn more about the ways that you can incorporate your own desired epitaph into the planning process. 

A Trust Can Help You Guide Your Loved Ones

While it is true that a trust is a valuable estate planning tool, it is much more than that. A trust can memorialize your values and aspirations for your loved ones. By incorporating provisions that incentivize your beneficiaries to pursue an education, hone a new craft, contribute to the community through volunteering, or even embark on entrepreneurial ventures, you can craft a legacy of encouragement, motivation, and support. Your trust can become a continuation of your presence, guiding your beneficiaries in ways that align with your wishes and vision for their future. 

A Trust Keeps You Part of Memorable Experiences

For those who cherish experiences and the creation of lasting memories, it can be invaluable to incorporate clauses within your trust that allocate money specifically for ventures like traveling, exploring new places, or even family reunions and celebrations of important events. These provisions not only facilitate experiences but also foster a deeper connection, ensuring that your family bonds remain strong even in your absence. 

A Trust Can Provide Monetary Support

Your estate plan is a powerful tool that can reflect your dedication and commitment to the well-being and success of your loved ones. If you have financially supported others in your lifetime, your estate plan offers you an opportunity to define and detail the nature and extent of your continued monetary support. Through meticulous planning, you can be remembered not just for the wealth you have accumulated but also for the love, care, and foresight indicated by your plan. 

Now Is the Perfect Time to Start Planning

Epitaph Day creates an opportunity for you to proactively engage in the estate planning process and provide yourself with both peace of mind as well as clarity and ease for your loved ones in the future. This can help ensure that your desires, whether about asset distribution, funeral arrangements, or messages to your loved ones, are clearly articulated and legally secure. 

Let us help you embark on the crucial journey of estate planning, ensuring that your legacy is honored and that your loved ones are spared unnecessary difficulties in honoring your life and wishes for the future. 

The Real Story Behind Trust Fund Kids 

When we hear the phrase “trust fund kid,” words like “entitled,” “privileged,” and “financially irresponsible” might come to mind. But another word we should associate with “trust fund kid” is “protected.” 

What Is a Trust Fund Kid?

According to a Forbes article published in 2021 about trust fund kids, three of the most common misconceptions are that trust fund kids all come from ridiculously rich families, they have it easy, and everyone who has serious money must have a trust fund. While these misconceptions may apply to some trust fund kids, it does not apply to the majority. The reality is that a trust fund kid does not necessarily live a life filled with lavish trips, designer clothes, and expensive cars—they are simply a young beneficiary of a trust. When most people hear the word “trust,” they envision an endless pot of money freely accessible to the beneficiary. Trusts are created for a variety of reasons, however, and are not just planning tools that benefit the ultrawealthy. 

Why Do Trust Fund Kids Have Such a Bad Reputation? 

This bad reputation stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of trusts and the benefits they can provide. The existence of a trust often indicates that an individual has taken the time to plan for the future of their children or loved ones, and instead of deciding to leave money to these individuals outright with no protections or conditions, they have decided to protect those funds. Whether the amount held in trust is millions of dollars or far less, trusts can be structured to ensure that the money lasts, is used for specific purposes, or even is held for the future benefit of children or loved ones. Added benefits of utilizing a trust are privacy, as trusts are not usually filed with a court and therefore are not subject to the public eye, and avoiding the probate process, which in some cases can be costly and time-consuming. 

Preventing the Negative Consequences

Limit Control

After learning more about the real story behind trust fund kids, you may be curious and want to explore the positive ways a trust could benefit your own children or loved ones. To avoid the negative stereotypes surrounding trust fund kids, you will want to consider how much control you would want them to have over their own trust. Granting too much control could lead to uncontrolled spending or unreasonable purchases. 

Make Your Beneficiary Earn Their Inheritance

You may want to avoid the perception that your children or loved ones have it easy and should therefore consider building in provisions that will require them to “earn” portions of their trust. This structure can incentivize your children or loved ones to achieve more by reaching certain milestones such as completing postsecondary education, finishing trade school, serving in the military, or starting a business. You can elect to have the trustee purchase certain assets, such as a home, in the name of the trust to ensure that the assets are provided to your children or loved ones, while the trustee is responsible for ensuring that they are properly maintained and not sold on a whim. 

Consider Loans Instead of Outright Gifts

You have worked hard to build your wealth and want to leave protected funds that can benefit your children or loved ones in a different way. There are many wealthy individuals who do not want to leave money to their children or loved ones because they believe it may disincentivize them to pave their own way. As it is, the majority of young adults do not have the ability to obtain financing with favorable terms on their own. For those of you who want to provide a more conservative form of support, you can allow your trust to provide favorable loans to your children or grandchildren that they will have to pay back with interest, allowing the principal to grow for future generations. 

We Can Help You Avoid the Downsides of a Trust Fund Kid

Although being a trust fund kid often has negative connotations, by working with an experienced estate planning attorney and exploring the positive aspects, you may want to make your own children or loved ones trust fund kids. We can help educate you further about how a trust can benefit you, protect your children and loved ones, and provide a way to support them in the future. 

Assembling Your Own (Estate Planning) Team

Some of us may enjoy games like fantasy football that allow us to assemble our own star team with the players we think will provide the most value. While fantasy football is fun to participate in, have you ever given thought to the importance of establishing your own dream team? Just like in fantasy football, each player has their own strengths and addresses a different part of the game that leads to the team’s overall success. Consequently, it is no secret that having a solid team of quality professionals allows us to ensure that all aspects of our future can be planned for. It can take an entire team, all with different strengths, to successfully plan for life’s foreseen and unforeseen events. Working with quality professionals enables you to ensure that you are creating the best possible comprehensive plan and that it is done the right way.

With a proper team of professionals, you can feel secure, knowing that all facets of your future are being considered when your team collectively strategizes the best structure to adequately address your finances, family dynamics, business ownership, insurance needs, and tax considerations, all while achieving the end goal of promoting family harmony.

Who Should Be on Your Team?

Estate Planning Attorney

In the intricate game of estate and legacy planning, an estate planning attorney often assumes a role similar to that of the quarterback, directing and coordinating the team’s strategies to achieve your desired outcomes. Their expertise allows them to create a plan that ensures that your money and property are protected, your loved ones are provided for, and your wishes are upheld, even beyond your lifetime. Our role is not limited to establishing wills and trusts—we have the ability to foresee common challenges, preserve family harmony, and ensure seamless transitions during life’s unpredictable events through comprehensive planning. Just as the quarterback anticipates opponents’ moves and directs the team accordingly, we can foresee legal challenges and ensure that all components of your plan for the future work harmoniously. 

Financial Advisor

Engaging a financial advisor as part of your team can be an investment in clarity and strategic financial management and growth. With the ever-changing economic landscape, navigating the financial realm can be daunting for both novices and more seasoned investors alike. A financial advisor can utilize their expertise to tailor strategies that align with your unique situation and future goals. Having a financial expert dedicated to your financial well-being allows for a proactive approach to wealth management, ensuring that potential opportunities are optimized and pitfalls are avoided. In essence, a financial advisor is not just a valuable team member but a cornerstone for a sound financial future, helping you build, preserve, and optimize your wealth for success.

Insurance Agent

Enlisting an insurance agent as part of your team is important to protect you and your loved ones against unforeseen events. An adept insurance agent can help you navigate which insurance is most appropriate to ensure that you are protected and prepared. Insurance agents can often use their industry experience to tailor recommendations based on your specific needs and circumstances. Beyond assisting you in selecting appropriate policies, a good insurance agent can help educate you about your coverage and explain sometimes complicated policy terminology. In a world filled with uncertainties, an insurance agent is a valuable team member, helping you strategically secure not only your accounts and property but also your peace of mind.

Tax Professional or Certified Public Accountant

Incorporating a tax professional or certified public accountant (CPA) into your team is a strategic move to ensure financial prudence and compliance. The complexities of tax codes, regulations, and deductions can be overwhelming, and even minor oversights can result in significant financial implications or potential penalties. A seasoned tax professional or CPA does not simply crunch numbers; they provide invaluable counsel, leveraging their expertise to optimize tax strategies, identify potential savings, and ensure accurate and timely filings. Beyond your annual tax needs, a tax professional or CPA can offer you year-round guidance, helping both individuals and businesses make informed decisions that align with both immediate needs and long-term goals. Ultimately, a tax professional or CPA is your safeguard against costly mistakes and the team member that can help protect your financial health. 

Spiritual Advisor

A spiritual advisor has the potential to serve as your team’s anchor amid life’s chaos. They can offer you guidance on important questions and inner challenges, helping you navigate the world and connect with deeper purposes. In a world that can often be focused on material pursuits, your spiritual advisor can help realign your focus with core values and holistic well-being.

Business Advisor

Lastly, a business advisor can serve as a valuable team member. In the complex world of business, where the market and strategies are consistently evolving, this team member can bring a wealth of expertise, fresh perspective, and objective analysis to your business. Their insight can serve to protect your business from costly mistakes and help formulate strategic plans that align with your business’s short- and long-term goals. Overall, a business advisor can ensure that your business is properly structured and optimized for success.

We Can Help

You may have already assembled your dream team, or there may be positions that still need to be filled. We are happy to assist you with your estate planning needs and provide you with referrals to quality professionals to finalize your team.