October 5


How To Leave A Legacy And Protect What You’ll Leave Behind

By Mac McLean

October 5, 2020

It’s perfectly normal to wonder: “What happens to this thing I’ve built or this thing I’ve done when I die?” You’ve spent your entire life building a legacy – you’ve accumulated wealth, you started a business, and you played a role in your community – that you want to leave behind to the next generation and the generation after them. But to achieve this goal, you’ll need an estate plan that protects what you’ve done and dictates how it should be handed down.

Next Steps: Making an estate plan can be overwhelming. We recommend attending one of our educational events. This tool will find one in your area.

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 • Answer these few easy questions about your current situation.
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1. Protect your assets

Everything around you has a value that exceeds its price. There’s the antique dresser you refinished during your first month of retirement, the house you bought with money earned from a second job, and the investment portfolio that represents years of listening to the right people at the right time.

An estate planning attorney will help you protect these assets so you can leave this part of your legacy to your family.  He or she knows how to work the tax code so your heirs, and not the government, will get the biggest piece of the pie. And, your estate planning attorney may even help you keep the family farm from being sold to a developer and turned into a community of gray Craftsman homes.

2. Protect your business

Everyone who has owned a business has thought about the day when their son or daughter sits at their desk and takes things over when they retire. But they also understand this transition is rare and may not even be what they want.

Talk to your estate planning attorney about creating a business succession plan that will help you protect this part of your estate and guarantee it will survive the transition from your ownership to that of someone else. These plans may involve placing your heirs on a board of directors so your family can maintain some control of the business without being responsible for its day-to-day operations. They may also include a mechanism that shares part of the business’s profits with your family, so they’ll continue to reap the rewards of your hard work.

3. Protect your reputation

Maybe you’d like to protect who you are as much as what you’ve done. An estate planning attorney can help with this task by recording a video where you share wisdom with the people who came to you for advice. He or she can gather your recipes into a cookbook, so your children can take your place in the kitchen for holiday dinners. And your attorney can also find a place that would appreciate hanging your art on its walls.

An estate planning attorney will also help you fairly divide your assets, so your heirs get what they need to survive, and the charities you support will get what they need to continue their work. Depending on your assets’ value, he or she may also help you set up a scholarship, endow a foundation, or dedicate a building so people beyond your family will benefit from the legacy you leave behind.

But none of this can happen if you don’t start the estate planning process now. And the best way to do that is to learn about how everything works by signing up for a free estate planning workshop from PlanningCommunity.org today.

Mac McLean

About the author

Based out of Bend, Oregon, Mac McLean is a freelance writer who covers older adults and the issues affecting their daily lives. He currently writes for this website, the AARP Bulletin, and Waste Alert. He and his wife are riding out the pandemic with their 12-year-old English Springer Spaniel mix in a 200-square-foot guest house on a 2.2-acre farm surrounded by chickens, cows, pigs, and a donkey that simply will not shut up.

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