You have worked hard over the years to accumulate wealth, and would probably find it comforting to know that after your death the assets you leave behind will continue to be a source
of support for your family, friends, and the causes that are important to you. But to ensure that your legacy reaches your heirs or causes as you intend, you must make the proper arrangements.
Legacy planning as defined by Investopedia “is a financial strategy that prepares people to bequeath their assets to a loved one or next of kin after death.”
Start your planning early so that when the time comes, you have protected what matters most to you. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional provides advice on how best to
prepare your legacy, works with your estate planning attorney and CPA to assist with any questions or special requests that might come up. Estate planning documents, such as wills, need
to be reviewed regularly and kept current to deal with changing levels of wealth, changes in the law and family dynamics.
In my experience clients have been very amenable to begin the process. The financial advisor may recommend setting up a meeting with your family at an appropriate time to discuss how to
manage your estate, so there are no surprises. The meeting allows you to communicate any preferences or wishes you have in how your estate should be managed or what should become of
What about personal possessions? Who should have these items and what memories do they hold? My wife and I have four adult children. They live all over the country – Boston, DC,
Denver and Houston. They do not want our personal possessions however there are certain things we feel should be passed down. My wife is starting to explain to them the value of certain items so they stay in the family. Antiques Roadshow might be their best friend someday! Along with assets and family possessions are also your wishes, traditions, and stories. We feel
these are also important to your legacy. Our firm created a document called “The Letter of Personal Wishes” so clients could leave their beneficiaries more than just their assets.
So, I wrote all of this and never once mentioned taxes. Well, since I came back to Victoria in 1989, the Federal Estate Tax Exemption has gone from $600,000 per individual to the current
$11,580,000 per individual which expires in 2025 and reverts to an estimated $6,000,000 per person if not repealed earlier. At the present time, that eliminates estate tax issues for most
families. It does not eliminate the need for legacy planning.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional gives advice on how to help ensure that your affairs are managed and have an impact after you are gone.
Lane Keller is a CPA, CFP® with Keller & Associates CPAs, PLLC and KMH Wealth Management, LLC. He is an owner and has been helping people plan their legacies for over 30 years.