Your Clients’ Legacies: How Do They Want to Be Remembered?
As trusted advisors, we often discuss with our clients all aspects of the future, whether it be their financial future, the future support of their loved ones, or what the future will look like when they are no longer a part of it. Epitaph Day is an opportunity to center your discussion on how your clients would like 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 estate planning.
An Estate Plan Can Help Them 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 clients to pause and consider the importance of ensuring that their wishes, the things they own, and their legacies are handled according to their preferences after their departure from this world. Your clients may be surprised to learn more about the ways that they can incorporate their own desired epitaph into the planning process.
A Trust Can Help Your Clients Guide Their 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 client’s values and aspirations for their loved ones. By incorporating provisions that incentivize beneficiaries to pursue an education, hone a new craft, contribute to the community through volunteering, or even embark on entrepreneurial ventures, your clients can craft a legacy of encouragement, motivation, and support. Their trust can become a continuation of their presence, guiding their beneficiaries in ways that align with their wishes and vision for their future.
A Trust Keeps Your Client Part of Memorable Experiences
For those clients who cherish experiences and the creation of lasting memories, it can be invaluable to incorporate clauses within their 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 their family bonds remain strong even in their absence.
A Trust Can Provide Monetary Support
An estate plan is a powerful tool that can reflect your clients’ dedication and commitment to the well-being and success of their loved ones. For those who have provided financial support to loved ones in their lifetime, their estate plan offers them an opportunity to define and detail the nature and extent of their continued monetary support. Through meticulous planning, they can be remembered not just for the wealth they have accumulated but also for the love, care, and foresight indicated by the provisions incorporated in their plan.
Now Is the Perfect Time for Clients to Start Planning
Epitaph Day creates an opportunity for clients to proactively engage in the estate planning process and provide them with both peace of mind as well as clarity and ease for their loved ones in the future. This can help ensure that your clients’ desires, whether about distribution of their hard-earned money and property, funeral arrangements, or messages to their loved ones, are clearly articulated and legally secure.
Let us help your clients embark on the crucial journey of estate planning, ensuring that their legacy is honored and that their loved ones are spared unnecessary difficulties in honoring your clients’ lives 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. A trust often indicates that an individual has taken the time to intentionally plan for their children’s or loved one’s future, 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 is even held for the future benefit of children or loved ones. Added benefits of utilizing a trust are privacy, as trusts are not filed with courts 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
After enlightening your clients about the real story behind trust fund kids, they may want to learn more about the positive ways a trust could benefit their own children or loved ones. To avoid the negative stereotypes surrounding trust fund kids, your clients will want to consider how much control they want to give the beneficiary over their own trust. Granting too much control could lead to uncontrolled spending or unreasonable purchases.
Make a Beneficiary Earn Their Inheritance
Clients may want to avoid the perception that their children or loved ones have it easy and should therefore consider building in provisions that will require their children or loved ones to “earn” portions of their trust. This structure can incentivize their 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. Clients 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 the beneficiary, while the trustee is responsible for ensuring that it is properly maintained and not sold on a whim.
Consider Loans Instead of Outright Gifts
You may encounter clients who have worked hard to build their wealth and want to leave protected funds that can benefit their 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 your clients who want to provide a more conservative form of support, they can allow their trust to provide favorable loans to beneficiaries that they will have to pay back with interest, allowing the principal to grow for future generations.
We Can Help Your Clients Avoid the Downsides of a Trust Fund Kid
Although being a trust fund kid often has negative connotations, your clients will likely want to make their own children or loved ones trust fund kids if they are educated about the positive aspects. We can help further educate your clients about how a trust can benefit them, protect their children or loved ones, and support their children or loved ones in the future.
This Thanksgiving We Are Thankful for Your Collaboration
It is no secret that having a solid network of quality professionals allows us to address more than just one of our clients’ concerns. It takes a team to plan for life’s foreseen and unforeseen events. Working with quality professionals like you enables us to ensure that our clients are receiving the best possible comprehensive plan and that it is done the right way.
Our clients can feel secure knowing that all facets of their future are being considered when we collectively strategize the best structures and tools to adequately address their finances, businesses, and tax considerations, all while achieving the end goal of promoting family harmony.
There Are Many Opportunities for Us to Work Together
Irrevocable trusts provide higher-net-worth clients with a variety of benefits, such as avoidance of estate inclusion and reducing future estate taxes. Consequently, clients will likely require assistance addressing the higher income tax liability and understanding any potential tax implications associated with the trust being the owner of the money and property they have worked so hard for.
Business Succession Planning
We often encounter business owners and entrepreneurs while creating an estate plan. As part of our process, we often implement strategies on the estate planning side to address business succession and management in the event of death or incapacity. Additionally, we discuss clients’ goals of achieving asset protection for their real property, which may involve us advising them to transfer their property to a business entity. While we can address some aspects of business ownership, our clients benefit from the guidance of an experienced professional who can assist them in determining which business entity type may be the most appropriate, and even further, ensuring that they have the proper formation and operational documents in place once it is established. In addition, clients will likely need to be educated about proper management and any filing requirements associated with entity ownership.
Liquidity for Minor Beneficiaries
Planning for minor children is often at the top of our clients’ priority list. Trusts are often a great tool to create a plan for minor children in the event of a client’s death. This form of planning involves examining a client’s assets and ensuring that there is an available source of liquidity to fund the trust for the benefit of these children.
We Are Thankful to Have a Go-To Person
We are thankful to have you as a part of our incredibly valuable network. We appreciate the contributions you make to ensuring that our mutual clients have a comprehensive plan for the future. Our world is constantly changing, prompting clients to have evolving concerns that need to be addressed by knowledgeable professionals. Having knowledgeable professionals like you allows us to be the go-to person when clients call us looking for guidance. Thank you for being a part of our network, and we look forward to continued opportunities to collaborate to better serve our clients.