April 30, 2013

What’s Your True Legacy?

Nash&Bean-Curt-colorBy Curt Ford
Nash Nash Bean & Ford

May is a month of celebrations – Mother’s Day, graduations, Memorial Day – not to mention a month of grand events, such as the Kentucky Derby and the Indianapolis 500. Lesser known but still celebrated in May are Teacher Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day and National Police Week. These dates are all ways we celebrate the people important in our lives along with activities joining family and friends together to share an afternoon of fun and festivities.

While May is filled with these dates, how do you celebrate the people and events in your own life? It’s easy to note the major, milestone events, but what about the day-to-day occurrences? What celebrations are most important to you, and, more importantly, will anyone continue – or remember – them after you’re gone?

While most people think of estate planning as only the financial side of their life, in reality, many family arguments are over the intangibles, the sentimental family heirlooms, not the stocks, cds or bank accounts. If you also want to preserve your non-financial assets, you can use your estate plan to create your legacy for your non-financial interests. To help you create that legacy, consider:

• Make sure you have a plan for possessions that may have little financial value but great sentimental value, such as the Thanksgiving turkey platter that has served four generations their holiday meals. Make sure you have a thoughtful transfer of traditions.

• Take time to document your personal history and values with a legacy letter on your fondest memories and traditions. If you need help getting started, take out the old photo album and start jotting down your memories from the events in the pictures. You can share your story in something as simple as a spiral notebook or as fancy as a bound book with pre-printed questions.

As you consider how you can transfer your financial assets when you’re gone, make sure you’ve also made a plan to share your heirlooms, values and traditions so these non-financial assets can also thrive through the future generations.

Nash Nash Bean & Ford are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. To receive a copy of our most recent newsletter, “Your Estate Matters,” or for a free consultation on Estate or Long Term Care Planning, call 800-644-5345, email info@nashbeanford.com or visit our website at www.nashbeanford.com, where you may also link to our blog and Facebook page.

The firm devotes its practice primarily in the areas of estate, business and tax planning and related areas of the law, as well as elder law and trust administration and probate. We offer guidance and advice to our clients in every area of estate planning.

This column is designed for general information purposes only, and is not intended, nor should be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult your attorney if specific legal information is desired.