LEGACY PLANNING CREATES LASTING EFFECTIVE THOUGHTFUL HARMONIOUS MULTI-GENERATIONAL WEALTH TRANSFER
Build a legacy for your family.
Protect your child's future.
Pass on more than money.
A legacy is what you leave behind to your loved ones: assets, possessions, instructions, etc. but, more importantly, it’s the passing on of your values and life lessons that can help subsequent generations navigate their lives and manage the inheritance you’ve worked so hard to give them.
Legacy Planning is a multi-generational planning approach that uses Traditional Estate Planning and Deliberate Family Planning
to create smoother transitions of wealth, less family conflict, and the effective transfer of family values and leadership.
ROY WILLIAMS and VIC PRESSER
"Preparing Heirs: Five Steps to a Successful Transition of Family Wealth and Values."
Traditional Estate Planning
Traditional Estate Planning isn't just about death planning, it's more about planning for "today" because we have no idea what the next hour may bring.
LIFE & DEATH PLANNING FOR TODAY
Estate planning isn’t just about death planning—it’s also about life planning. What happens if you’re down but not out? How prepared are you for your potential incapacity? According to Drive Smart Virginia’s 2021 Annual Report, an average of 161 people were injured in traffic accidents every day (and that’s just in Virginia). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 13 traffic accidents occur every minute (nationally). It could happen to you…
Scenario 1: If you’re unmarried, what happens to you if you’re in a car accident that incapacitates but doesn’t kill you? If you’re married, what happens if your spouse was in the car with you and you’re both incapacitated or one of you has died? Who will make medical decisions for you? How will anyone know what treatments you would and would not want? Who will even have the right to speak to your doctors? And who will manage your financial affairs?
Scenario 2: If you’re married with children, what happens if you and your spouse are in a car accident together and now you’re both incapacitated or one of you has died? Who will rush in to take possession of and care for your children? Who knows how to immediately care for them? Will they have to be taken by Child Protective Services by default? What if you’re not waking up and your children require long-term care? Who will provide it and how will they afford sudden parenthood? Will the court appoint someone you’d want as their Guardian? Or, will your children become foster kids?
Scenario 3: If you’re a pet parent, what happens if you’re in a car accident and you’re incapacitated, who will know your pet(s) are waiting for you at home? What if your “pet” is actually one or more horses or a herd of livestock? Who will step in to care for them? Do they have special needs? If so, who knows what they are and what to do? What if you’re not waking up and they require long-term care? Who will provide it and how will they afford it? Will your pet(s) have to be taken in by Animal Control or surrendered to an animal rescue by default?
Scenario 4: If your 18-year-old child is in a car accident and becomes incapacitated, do you have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf now that they are legal adults? Do you even have the right to access your child’s medical records or speak to their doctors?
Scenario 5: If you own your own business and become incapacitated, who will step in and take over? Do you have a succession plan in place? How will your business survive in your absence?
Scenario 6: If you’re a gun owner, did you know that incapacitated people can’t legally own guns? What will happen to your firearms if you become mentally or physically incapacitated? Who will know what to do with them? Who will have the legal authority to take possession of them without accidentally committing a felony?
I could go on…
Like dying, none of these scenarios are pleasant to think about, but it’s imperative that you do. Traditional estate planning tools like Revocable Living Trusts, Child Stability Plans, Pet/Horse Trusts, Gun Trusts, and critical documents like Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, and HIPAA Authorizations can ensure you are prepared, come what may.
Now consider what would happen in the above scenarios if you died. How prepared are you?
Dealing with our own mortality can be unsettling, and it’s easy to give in to the temptation to procrastinate about that which we’d prefer to ignore. However, there are no good reasons for not having at least a basic estate plan in place, regardless of your age, good health, or any other excuses you have to delay. If you don’t make a plan, your family is at the mercy of Virginia’s statutory plan, which is a confusing and laborious experience that is unlikely to result in what you’d have wanted for property and your loved ones. As an adult, it’s your fundamental responsibility to avoid leaving a lifetime’s worth of mess for your family to sort out while they’re grieving the loss of you. We’ve all heard the horror stories—don’t be one. Traditional estate planning tools like Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Child Stability Plans, Pet/Horse Trusts, and Gun Trusts provide a clear and manageable plan for your loved ones to follow to more easily effectuate your wishes after you’re gone.
TRADITIONAL ESTATE PLANNING TOOLS
- JOINT POUR-OVER TRUST
- JOINT TRUST
- INDIVIDUAL TRUST
- MARITAL DISCLAIMER TRUST
- MARITAL QTIP TRUST
- QUALIFIED DOMESTIC TRUST
- FAMILY TRUST
- FAMILY CREDIT SHELTER TRUST
- GENERATION SKIPPING TRUST
- INCENTIVE TRUST
- SPENDTHRIFT TRUST
- CHARITABLE TRUST
- STAND ALONE RETIREMENT TRUST
- IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUST
- QUALIFIED PERSONAL RESIDENCE TRUST
- SPOUSAL LIFETIME ACCESS TRUST
- DOMESTIC ASSET PROTECTION TRUST
- HORSE TRUST
- PET TRUST
- GUN TRUST
WILLS vs. TRUSTS
- Requires probate
- Less time to draft now
- More time to probate later (6 to 18+ months)
- Costs less to draft now ($1500-$2500)
- Effective only upon death
- No incapacity planning
- Only names long-term guardians
- Assets are frozen upon death
- Assets are transferred when court says
- Matter of public record
- Requires court supervision
- One-time control over your estate
- No deliberate family planning
- No asset protection
- Avoids probate
- More time to draft now
- Less time to administer later
- Costs more to draft now ($4000-$5000+)
- Effective immediately
- Incapacity planning
- Comprehensive Child Stability Plan™
- Assets are not frozen upon death
- Assets are transferred when you say
- No court supervision
- Long-term control over your estate
- Comprehensive deliberate family planning
- Opportunity for asset protection
WHICH PLAN IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Deliberate Family Planning
Most people don’t consider the possibility that passing on their intangible assets—memories, values, and wisdom—can be done on purpose. We all hope our heirs inherit our brilliance by osmosis, but let’s not leave it to chance. This kind of asset transfer can be achieved deliberately through a number of family planning tools.
DELIBERATE FAMILY PLANNING TOOLS
- Write an ethical will
- Conduct a Legacy interview
- Write letters to loved ones
- Make specific bequests with notes
- Write your own obituary
- Plan your own funeral
- Host a family meeting
- Determine a family mission statement
- Develop a code of conduct
- Create a family motto
- Create a family charitable foundation
- Transfer leadership
ARE YOUR CHILDREN PREPARED FOR THEIR INHERITANCE?
Children should learn about the responsibilities of wealth. Wealth is a gift that can open doors of opportunity for your children, their children, and potentially generations to come. But wealth can be a weighty responsibility that takes time to manage, maintain, and preserve. If you are a parent, you are no doubt concerned about the effects of wealth on your children’s values. Do you worry about how they will manage the money you pass on to them as they mature into adulthood? During legacy planning, you have the opportunity to offer guidance (and even dictate) the values-based money management you want for the next generation.
YOUR FAMILY HAS A BRAND
Together we will clarify your family’s “brand.” That may sound very corporate, but your brand already exists; you unknowingly built it. I presume you’ve just never thought of it that way—think about it now. The traits, beliefs, goals, and morals that are shared among you define a family’s brand as much as money defines a family’s wealth. Your brand should be values-based and serve as the foundation of your legacy.
Think about it. Is your family brand centered around volunteerism and charitable giving, or perhaps education and innovation? Or, is it based on the family business? Does it prioritize the arts or place a high value on travel? Clarifying your family brand and determining how you’d like it to continue can help us develop a legacy plan that will ensure the next generation continues to nurture the brand you (and generations before you) have built.
Have you had "the talk" yet?
Would you like some help?
Working with me, you will have the opportunity to conduct a family meeting in the later phase of the legacy planning process. The family meeting provides a time for you to convey as much of your legacy plan as you’d like to and express your goals and/or any concerns you have regarding the transfer of family leadership. You can also work together to solidify your family brand, discuss what it means to you, and how it can provide your loved ones with direction on how to best navigate the estate you will be passing on to them.
The Legacy Planning Process
If you reach out via phone, email, or through this website’s contact form, I’ll chat with you briefly and then direct you to my scheduling page so that you can pick a convenient time for our 30-minute Legacy Plan Initial Consultation. If you’d like, you can skip the Meet & Greet and go straight to the scheduling page.
The legacy planning process starts with an initial complimentary 30-minute meeting, which you can schedule online here. Once you schedule your appointment, I will email you a client registration form to fill out online (you must complete this form prior to our Initial Consultation).
We will use these 30 minutes to:
get to know each other a bit
go over the answers you entered on your registration form
discuss your needs and goals
address any initial questions or concerns you might have
schedule your Design Meeting
discuss your preparation for the Design Meeting (see Note below)
Note: After your Initial Consultation, I will email you an Estate Planning Worksheet to fill out (you can complete it online, as a fillable PDF, or feel free to print it out). The Worksheet will prompt you to submit certain documents to me, including things like previously executed estate plans, property deeds, marital agreements, LLC operating agreements, and the like. You must submit this form and these documents to me (digital or hard copy) no later than 1 week before your Design Meeting.
If you don’t have an existing legacy plan, the goal of the Design Meeting is to set out the details of your estate plan. To do this well, you will need to submit your preparatory documents to me at least one week prior to your appointment so that I can be best prepared to advise you on your specific wants and needs.
We will discuss various options regarding your wishes for how you want your tangible property distributed, who will make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated or pass away, who will advocate for your medical needs, who will care for your children, and much more. We will discuss various choices and I’ll make recommendations based on your particular situation. At the end of the meeting, we’ll have a clear blueprint that I will use to build you a comprehensive estate plan.
Once the design of your estate plan is complete, we will discuss the second component of your legacy: your deliberate family plan. This plan is the best way to ensure a smooth, conflict-free transfer of both your tangible and intangible assets. Together, we will go over the various planning tools and decide which ones you would like to employ.
If you do have an existing estate or legacy plan, we will review it and discuss your desired changes. We will determine whether an Amendment or Restatement is more appropriate.
If you have them, we will review your:
- Prenup/Marital Agreement
- Estate Plan
- Advanced Directive/Living Will
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Healthcare Powers of Attorney
- HIPAA Authorizations
- Business Succession Plan
- Life Insurance Plan
- Retirement Plan
- Family Plan
Note: The Design Meeting typically takes 2 to 4 hours to complete (often depending on how prepared you are). Please plan accordingly.
The next time we meet will be to review the documents that make up your estate plan. We will go through the documents together and ensure that you understand them and that they achieve your goals. At this time, we will discuss any remaining questions and mark any necessary changes. Once the review is complete, we will schedule your Signing Meeting and your Legacy Interview.
The Signing Meeting is our final “formal” meeting and the moment you will sign all of the documents that make up your estate plan. Your documents will be witnessed and notarized, then I will take them back to my office to digitize them.
Note: You do not receive your estate planning documents at this meeting because I still need to digitize them.
After your Signing Meeting, we will conduct your Legacy Interview (on the same day or another day that is convenient for you). A Legacy Interview involves you and me sitting down together in a very informal way. You can share your stories, values, lessons-learned, advice, and anything else you’d like to say to your loved ones while I record our meeting via audio or video. This recording will be included as a file on the USB you will receive from me in your Legacy Plan binder.
Note: I know telling your personal stories to a relative stranger probably seems off-putting right now, but don’t worry, by this time we’ll have built a great relationship.
One week before the Legacy Interview, I will send you a “guide” that will outline our conversation and help you informally prepare. This is also a good time to collect your photos and historic documents for digitizing (if you choose to take advantage of that service).
Note: If you choose to have our meeting recorded on video, this interview may also serve as proof of your mental capacity at the time of making your estate plan.
Trust funding can be accomplished in 3 ways:
I can fund it for you for an additional fee (0.25% of all assets funded).
I can connect you with a trusted financial advisor who can assist you with funding your trust and provide additional financial advice, if desired.
You can fund it yourself using the written instructions I will provide you.