Legacy planning is a multi-stage process for those who want to be sure they control their legacy. When you make a legacy plan, you do not just want to make a will and be done with it. There is so much more you can do to provide for your loved ones and the causes you believe in.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. provides comprehensive assistance with legacy planning. We believe you do not have to be wealthy or have a huge income to make a big difference in giving to charitable causes or changing your family’s destiny.
Give us a call today to speak with a Worcester or Burlington legacy planning lawyer and to find out more about how we can help you to make the most of your income and assets so you can create the strong legacy you deserve to leave behind.
Key Steps of Legacy Planning
There are three primary steps to legacy planning. These steps include:
- Growing your assets
- Protecting your assets
- Using your wealth to create your legacy
At each different step, there are things that you should be doing. For example, when you are focused on growing your assets, you should make smart spending, saving, and investment decisions. You should put aside money automatically from your paycheck, effectively paying yourself first so you are certain you will save money. You should also be certain to invest wisely, using safe accounts that provide tax advantages whenever possible.
Once you have begun to invest and grow your wealth, you must do everything you can to protect your assets. Structuring ownership carefully, including the smart use of revocable and irrevocable trusts, can help you to keep your growing nest egg safe from being lost. You can also create an incapacity plan and nursing home plan to provide further protection for your assets in case something happens to you.
Finally, you will need to decide what should be done with that wealth. You can create a charitable remainder trust and even a charitable foundation to give back to causes you believe in. If you want to leave money to family or friends, you can use tools like trusts to make sure you reduce the potential for estate taxes that reduce your inheritance value. Trusts also prevent irresponsible heirs from squandering their inheritance.
When Should You Start Legacy Planning?
You should begin the process of legacy planning as soon as possible. Many of the tools you will need to use to grow and protect your wealth are best used when you are young and must be used when you are still of sound mind. For example:
- An IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement plan that can jump start your savings. There are annual contribution limits, so each year when you do not make a contribution is an opportunity lost forever.
- A power of attorney is an important asset protection tool in case of incapacity, but it has to be created when you are of sound mind. If you don’t name an agent to act on your behalf, your assets could decline in value due to mismanagement if something happens to you. There could be delays in getting someone appointed as a guardian to manage your assets in case of incapacity and the person chosen to manage assets could be someone who doesn’t have the knowledge to handle your property and investments correctly.
- A nursing home plan is also essential for asset protection, but has to be made at least five years prior to the time nursing home care is needed in order to provide the maximum protection for assets. This is because you need Medicaid to pay for a nursing home to protect your assets, and Medicaid will disqualify you for a period of time if you’ve made asset transfers within five years of your application for benefits.
The specifics of your situation may also require you to take other steps to protect your legacy. For example, business owners may need to incorporate to protect personal assets. The sooner you talk with a legacy planning lawyer, the more effective you can be at using legal tools to ensure you have control over your own destiny.
Contact a Worcester or Burlington Legacy Planning Lawyer Today
The Law Office of James A. Miller, P.C. provides invaluable assistance with all of the key steps of legacy planning. We can guide you through each stage of planning and building a strong legacy. We help no matter what your wealth and income level, so you can leave the world a better place than you found it.
Give our Worcester or Burlington legacy planning lawyers a call today at 866-370-3888 or contact us online to learn more about the personalized service we can offer as you make your legacy plan for the future.
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