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Estate planning can include what kind of legacy to leave behind

Estate planning often revolves around who will get an inheritance and who won't. The question of how much money and what assets to leave to whom is an essential part of the estate planning process for Michigan families. However, families have recently begun to think about what else they leave behind for the next generation, namely what their legacy will be.

Many people who set out to create an estate plan find it difficult to justify simply leaving money. For some, it is a question of whether leaving bulk funds to a person is a benefit for them in the long run or possibly detrimental. For example, leaving a recovering or active addict a large sum of money may not be wise and may not help a person preserve the family's legacy.

One way to help ensure a legacy, meaning how values and contributions to society are handed down to the next generation, is to create a trust for charitable giving. Some families create a family bank to encourage participation and entrepreneurship. One other tip to ensure a favorable legacy is to involve the next generation at a young age so when they do receive assets or an inheritance, they are apt to continue with the core values of a family or family business.

For some Michigan families, thinking about how an inheritance may be handled can be just as overwhelming and concerning as deciding how to leave an inheritance. Discussing and outlining a legacy plan may help ease those fears. Establishing a legacy can be a part of any estate plan and can help all parties involved understand what expectations may be once a family member has passed.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning Fears That Keeps Us Up At Night", John E. Girouard, Oct. 29, 2014

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