Incorporating Legacy Planning into Your Estate Plan

By Joshua Berkley

Most people are familiar with estate planning and its importance. Lesser known, however, is the concept of legacy planning. Legacy planning allows you to leave behind much more than your assets. Specifically, through legacy planning, you can pass along your morals, values, faith, and philosophy to your beneficiaries. In this article, we explain how to incorporate legacy planning into your estate plan. 

The Traditional Estate Planning Process

To understand legacy planning, it is first necessary to understand the traditional estate planning process. Traditional estate planning focuses on growing, protecting and distributing one’s assets. In other words, the primary focus of traditional estate planning is on one’s material wealth. 

Legacy Planning

Rather than material wealth, legacy planning addresses intangible matters, such as morals and values. In other words, through legacy planning, you may take steps to attempt to ensure that your attitudes, beliefs, values, and other intangible matters are passed along to your beneficiaries. However, legacy planning is not intended to take the place of traditional estate planning. Rather, traditional and legacy estate planning are intended to work hand in hand. 

Legacy Planning Things to Consider

Before determining how to incorporate your legacy into your estate plan, you must decide what you would like your legacy to be. A good way to do this is to ask yourself what values, philosophies, and beliefs helped you become the person you are today. In addition, you should examine what you believe is important in life and identify the core beliefs that have guided you to where you are now. After contemplating these types of issues, you should be ready to begin legacy planning.

Incorporating Legacy Planning into Your Estate Plan 

There are several common estate planning tools available to pass on your legacy. One such tool is a trust. As a trust settlor, you may incorporate your legacy into the terms of the trust. For example, if you feel strongly about the importance of higher education, you could create an education trust that only allows assets held in the trust to be used to pay for post-secondary education. And if your faith is important to you, you could create a trust that makes charitable donations to a religious organization of your choosing. You may also use a last will and testament for this and similar purposes. 

In addition, you may draft a letter of instruction to pass on your legacy. A letter of instruction is an estate planning tool that permits you to provide instruction and guidance to your loved ones. Although it isn’t legally binding, a letter of instruction can be a great way to instruct your loved ones on what you think is important and what you hope they inherit from your legacy.

Contact a Shelby County Estate Planning Attorney 

If you want to pass along your legacy through the estate planning process, Berkley Oliver PLLC is here for you. Our estate planning lawyers are highly experienced in the area of estate planning, and we help clients throughout Central Kentucky plan for their futures. Regardless of your unique needs, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to create a plan that is right for you. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer. 

About the Author
Josh Berkley is an attorney and owner at Berkley Oliver PLLC who helps individuals implement plans to protect their assets and their loved ones. Josh focuses his practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law.  From assisting young parents in making a plan to provide for their children, to helping senior clients qualify for Medicaid, Josh works with clients to create estate plans and life plans tailored to each person’s specific goals. He also helps clients with a wide variety of important legal documents such Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Designations, and Living Wills. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Josh here.