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Legacies in an estate plan

Some people in Nevada who are creating an estate plan may think mainly in terms of financial assets. However, this is only one part of what a person could pass on to loved ones. People also have legacies, which consist of things such as family traditions, beliefs, stories and values. They can be helpful for families in many ways as studies have shown that children often have better self-esteem and coping skills when they have a stronger sense of their family histories.

These intangible assets are related to both character and intellect. They might include purpose, plans for giving and life experience as well as business systems, wisdom and skills. One of the first steps is to think about goals. For example, a person may want to create a legacy for the community or loved ones. They should also think about how to make the legacy tangible. This could be elaborate and might mean writing a memoir or making a documentary, or it may be something simple such as writing a letter.

Photographs and interviews with other family members are examples of what might be included and passed on. Putting together the documents for family members can seem overwhelming, but it can be broken down into smaller steps.

Trusts are a type of estate planning document that can combine a person's values with financial assets. For example, a person might establish a charitable trust that can provide income for family members and help support a charity. A person can also use a trust to specify how and when a beneficiary receives distributions. For example, an estate holder might want distributions to occur when an heir reaches a certain educational achievement. A special needs trust can care for a family member and not impact eligibility for government benefits.

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