When you think of estate planning, you may only think of setting up Wills, Trusts, and possibly a Medical Power of Attorney. You think of how to divide property and who will make healthcare decisions when Grandma is no longer able to.
However, planning your estate or helping Grandma plan her estate can be far more than a simple division of assets; it can also be a way of preserving your family history.
By creating a “Legacy Plan”, you can plan for how you will preserve your family stories and information for your children and your grandchildren. It can be as simple as writing all of the stories down and placing them in a notebook to include in the division of family assets or as elaborate as individually dividing up all of one’s family heirlooms and memorabilia. Also, these memories can be videotaped or audiotaped.
Even if you think that your family does not have that many interesting stories, what you may learn while asking around could surprise you. Think of any stories that your grandparents or parents told you about their past, and think of how wonderful it would be for your own grandchildren and great-grandchildren to continue telling those stories and/or treasuring that watch that your grandfather gave your grandmother while he was in Europe for World War II.
If you are helping your loved ones plan their estates or when you start thinking of planning your own estate, be sure to consider discussing how to preserve your family history. Whether it’s stories or heirlooms, all are central to your family’s legacy and should be shared down the line as your family grows.
However, not every attorney who offers estate planning services will offer ideas for a Legacy Plan outside of your typical Will documents. This is yet another reason why you should work with an experienced estate planning attorney who specializes in this area. An attorney who focuses his or her practice primarily on estate planning will be able to structure a customized plan for your individual family needs, thereby ensuring that your family legacy will indeed be preserved.