A legacy plan ensures continuity of not just your wealth, but also serves to preserve and grow the things money can’t buy: values, ideals, integrity.
What can you give to your family and future generations that is truly lasting? What impact do you want your wealth to have? How will your values be upheld? Although end-of-life issues can be difficult to think about, legacy planning is an essential part of your family’s wealth management resources. A legacy plan helps the continuity of not just your wealth, but also serves to preserve and grow the things money can’t buy: values, ideals, integrity.
Many people think that legacy planning boils down to drawing up an estate plan. But an estate plan is just one component of legacy planning. An estate plan sets up structures to deal with the transfer of property to your beneficiaries, such as wills, trusts or other vehicles. These documents will help dispose of your property effectively and efficiently, and may minimize the burden of estate taxes on your heirs.
However, traditional estate planning doesn’t typically tackle the “big picture”— for example, how you’d like to be remembered, or your hopes for what your children will accomplish. A legacy plan addresses these larger issues, creating an opportunity to communicate your values and protect against things that can get in their way.
A legacy plan may cover many areas of your life: retirement, goals for furthering education, strategic family philanthropy and creating a shared family mission, or addressing important issues of a family business. It begins with a conversation—sitting down and talking frankly about what wealth stands for beyond the number on a balance sheet. For example, if you value philanthropic giving, you could get your loved ones involved in the charities you support. Or maybe you’re interested in setting up a fund to cover education costs for younger family members. Or you may need to create a succession plan for your business.
This initial conversation is crucial, but most people don’t have a lot of practice talking together as a family about either wealth or values—let alone how the former can put the latter into action. Broaching the subject can be daunting.
There are many ways a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor can offer guidance and tools to help you navigate key issues. Helping family members to articulate frankly and respectfully how they feel and aiding them in finding common ground when they disagree. Understanding whether a family business provides a shared sense of purpose or simply an income. Finding the right approach if you have children or spouses in a blended family. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for creating a legacy plan, because every family is different. A Financial Advisor can help you find the best way to talk to yours.
Starting the conversation is the first step. And when you’re ready to move forward, we can connect you with specialists to help you protect the things that matter most to you and your family. After all, we have families and values ourselves. And we believe in investing in what lasts.