Everyone leaves a legacy when they die. Although your legacy includes any financial wealth you leave behind, it encompasses more than that. How you wish to be remembered, the mark you made on the world while you were here, and what you did to ensure the success and happiness of future generations are also part of your legacy. Legacy planning takes into account each of these facets of your legacy and tries to put together a road map for you and your family to follow to ensure that the legacy you leave behind is what you intended it to be.
You don’t have to have an immense fortune in order to benefit from legacy planning, although those who do have an immense fortune should certainly take the time to create a legacy plan. Without proper legacy planning, a significant amount of the wealth you do have, regardless of the value, may be lost to taxes. You will also lose the opportunity to make important decisions regarding how your wealth will be handled after your death as well as miss out on the chance to make an impact by contributing to causes that matter to you.
Basic estate planning allows you to make simple decisions regarding who will receive your assets upon death; however a legacy plan generally takes a basic estate plan a few steps farther. Instead of simply bequeathing assets to your spouse or children in a Last Will and Testament, for example, your legacy plan may create an elaborate web of inter-related trusts that ensure your legacy will survive for future generations.