Do you want to know why I did that?
Estate planning and elder law attorneys in are given a number of tasks when it comes to wealth management, retirement planning, and setting up wills and trusts. For the most part, clients are concerned with their money and other assets, which makes sense. After all, it’s important to pass on family money and heirlooms…and no one really wants to pay more taxes than are necessary.
All of these tasks are essential, but there are other ways in which you may want to utilize your will and estate attorney’s expertise. Many people are now choosing to add “Legacy Statements” to their estate plans. These are items that may not have any monetary value, but that can help to actually build a lasting family gift.
Legacy assets such as personal letters you’ve written to loved ones, a recorded family history, or other types of messages can become a part of your estate, perhaps with the attorney, trusted friend, or relative delivering them at the appropriate times. This idea can be especially appealing to someone facing a terminal illness earlier in life. A young mother, for example, could create a video of herself giving her children advice and then have those videos delivered after her death when her children meet certain milestones in their own lives such as graduation, marriage, or becoming parents themselves.
While there is no dollar amount attached to legacy assets, they can become some of the most treasured parts of your estate. Just because you can’t be there for a grandchild’s big day doesn’t mean you can’t offer your love and support, to share your pride and happiness, to provide advice and guidance.
Here are some of the things that estate planning attorneys have seen left as legacy assets:
• Annual birthday cards or recorded greetings
• Congratulations on life events
• Stories from the deceased’s life (oral or written)
• The departed reading bed-time stories to kids orgrandkids
• Handwritten cards or letters
• Life lessons that should be passed down
• Video instructions of how to do something (make a favorite recipe, for example)
• A cookbook of family recipes
You may also be interested in creating a legacy video statement. There is no reason that you cannot make a recording of yourself reading the statement, perhaps even adding the reasons for your decisions in your will or trust or the hopes you have for your beneficiaries.
Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Michele Ungvarsky is with Estrada Law, P.C. in Las Cruces. She provides Medicaid counseling and estate planning. She is licensed in New Mexico and Texas. To help people understand the value of planning, Ungvarsky presents free educational workshops on a regular basis. To reserve seats at a workshop, contact Estrada Law at PlanItForward.com or call 556-2462. Estrada Law is located in Arrowhead Executive Office Center at 4611 Research Park Circle, Las Cruces, NM 88001.