Most people think of estate planning as a purely financial process. You have assets, you need to leave them to the next generation, and you need a plan so that it happens the way that you want. You may also think beyond just financial assets and consider things like your future medical decisions or who you want to be in control of your care.
But the truth is that an estate plan doesn’t just have to be some drab document that lists out where your money is going to go and what should happen to your assets. It’s actually a way for you to put your values into perspective, and it can take action so that your estate reflects those values. Let’s consider how this could be done.
The value of using a trust
One of the best ways to do this is simply to use a trust. For example, maybe you have always valued your education, and you wish that more people had a high-level education. You could set up a trust that holds the money for your heirs and pays for their tuition costs. You are giving them money as an inheritance, but you’re really passing on that value of education.
Of course, you can also leave money to charity. No matter what you value, there’s probably a charity that is addressing it, and you can send money in that direction so that you know what you’re doing is in line with what you think is important in life.
Furthermore, you could use something like an incentive trust to give your heirs incentives that are in line with your own values. This way, they live the way you would like them to live, even if you’re not sure that they share your values or hold them to the same level of importance.
It’s wise to think about all of this when you’re making your estate plan, and then you can start looking into all of the options you have to create the ideal plan for your situation and your goals.